Seattle Accelerator Startups Are Making the Most of Microsoft Connections
Hanan LavySR DIR PME MS ACCELERATOR
It's been an action-packed couple of weeks for our Seattle Accelerator's Batch 5 startups. We're 4 months into the program designed to help later-stage startups scale through access to Microsoft technology, one-on-one mentoring, investor and enterprise customer connections and more.
This cohort–made up of 10 Series A companies doing innovative work in the cloud–recently pitched their solutions at a Microsoft internal showcase, demoed 1:1 for customers at our Big Data Summit in Silicon Valley, and are meeting more customers today at our Summit in New York. These summits not only provide opportunities for our Microsoft startups to potentially acquire new customers, but also to gain valuable feedback on their solutions and develop their networks.
Once startups graduate from our accelerator programs, we continue providing support through our Alumni Program, a global network of more than 600 technology companies. Last week, some of our past Seattle Accelerator graduates gathered with our current cohort to exchange ideas over drinks in the Bay Area.
Here’s a roundup of what some of our startups–past and present–had to say about Microsoft’s Seattle Accelerator program:
We’ve had great early interactions with senior stakeholders at Microsoft and look forward to deepening those relationships. The Customer Access event in Silicon Valley was an excellent opportunity to pitch our value proposition in front of a diverse range of potential marquee customers. Doing back-to-back pitches like that was a great exercise, too, as it’s a quick way to see what messaging is resonating and refine your pitch in real time.
We’ve been able to build relationships and integrations with a number of Product Teams, including Azure, HDInsights and PowerBI – and although we’re just getting started on those, we have already made tremendous progress in integrating the Unifi platform with the Microsoft data “stack.” The openness of the team–the ability to work with Microsoft so closely as a partner, to work with customers and with other partners–has been a massive advantage for us.
My experience with Microsoft before the Accelerator was a bit impersonal. Now, the relationship has deepened and evolved into an open state of comfortability and mutual benefit. We feel fantastic about Microsoft, its culture, and greatly look forward to collaborating and expanding our network together. I was fortunate enough to spend time with our guest speaker, Kevin Henrikson, post-event. He offered me specific advice regarding our organization and was both genuine and engaged in the conversation. Now I have a resource with incredible industry experience that I can leverage moving forward.
We’re accepting startups into our Seattle Accelerator program throughout the entire year. We’re looking for great Series A startups with initial revenues of $1M-$5M a year that are doing innovative work in the cloud. Using Azure is not a program requirement. Contact us if you think your company has what it takes!
Want more? Find us on Twitter @MSAccel for industry news, to follow along with our startup events, and to receive program updates.
Persuading company bosses to take on new, disruptive technologies can be a struggle. Luckily, there are a host of benefits to taking on new and emerging tech – it’s just a matter of finding ways to sell it to those C-Suite decision makers.
Joining Microsoft’s San Francisco Founders’ Day gave me a chance to engage with other Microsoft alumni, and an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and opportunities I face on a daily basis as a startup CEO and founder.