What is the Microsoft Accelerator in London?
The Microsoft Accelerator in London is a 16 week programme aimed at helping later stage startups doing big things in Cloud, Internet, and mobile. A small group of high-potential startups will be chosen for the programme. Microsoft Accelerator will provide the startups with a great workspace in central London, as well as free tools, top-quality mentorship, and training workshops necessary to successfully take your startup to the next level.
What does Microsoft Accelerator in London provide?
Microsoft Accelerator London provides the tools, mentorship and training your startup needs, in order to scale your business globally. Most importantly, you will be working alongside of Gonzalo Ruiz who built the team of architect to make Azure one of the most powerful and reliable cloud in the world.
• Joining an Equity Free programme
• Unique go-to-market service
• $500,000 open-source friendly Azure cloud credits and free software to scale-up seamlessly
• Cutting-edge curriculum with expert workshops on Go-to-Market Strategy, Fundraising Strategy and Methodology, Finance, IP Law, Marketing and successful entrepreneur introductions
• 1:1 mentorship and support tailored to your needs
• Free London office space
Do I have to develop on Microsoft technology or using Microsoft tools?
No. We are open to startups doing any kind of development, whether this uses Microsoft technology, a variety of open source dev languages or any other kind of development platform. As part of the Microsoft Accelerator, companies will be provided free access to and will be asked to trial the Windows Azure Cloud platform.
What sort of companies are you looking for?
We are looking for technology oriented companies, primarily in the fields of software, Cloud, Internet, Mobile and Games development. We are not looking for specific technologies, but rather for great teams with a real passion for what they are doing as well as a big vision.
Do you fund companies? How much in equity do you take?
We do not take an equity stake in the companies. And while we do not provide funding, we provide our companies with all the Microsoft software, tools, and cloud access they need for free through the BizSpark and BizSpark Plus programmes.
When is the deadline? How do I apply?
Applications are open twice a year - Usual from April to June and October to January. We highly recommend you to follow us on Twitter in order to not miss the data. When open you can apply here: https://www.f6s.com/microsoftventuresaccelerator-london/apply.
What's the catch?
There is no catch. No, really. There is no catch.
So, why are you doing this?
We are reinventing the way Microsoft works with top entrepreneurs and startups, we believe in “cultivating seeds of greatness” and helping broadcast the success globally. We believe that Microsoft Accelerator is a way of helping us engage deeply with developers, help expose them to our cloud and developer tools, and get meaningful feedback on their needs and opinions.
The Microsoft Accelerator is part of Microsoft’s continuing support of the UK’s high-tech community, which we believe to be one of the strongest and most innovative in the world.
Do you take single-founder companies?
While we don’t rule out companies with only a single founder, we know that single-founder companies have a much harder time succeeding. So we do strongly encourage companies to come in with a balanced team of at least one strong technical founder and one founder who has business or marketing experience.
Is my company too far along?
Not likely. We are focused on finding great teams with big visions who can benefit from the unique combination of workspace, tools, and mentorship that we can provide.
Can I apply if our company or founders are not from the UK?
Yes, as long as you plan to be in London for the duration of the programme.
What happens after the programme ends?
The purpose of the programme is to provide the maximum opportunity to get to the next level of development and the next stage for your company. We believe that the majority of the companies that participate in the Microsoft Accelerator will finish the programme with something in hand that they can take to investors and get funding.
We feel strongly about helping ensure our startups have continuation plans in place. This could mean that we facilitate an onramp to another accelerator or incubator, into our gaming studios, guide them toward a licensing deal or help position them to acquire funding.
At the end of the programme we will organize a demo day for potential investors and prospect introductions, for example angel investors and venture capitalists from the UK, EU and US to see your product/service and listen to your presentation. We will coach you in order to help you polish your message, improve your pitching technique, and generally do what we can to help you get funding.
What are the opportunities for networking and further education?
As part of the Microsoft Accelerator in London, we will have a number of regular and ad hoc events involving the entrepreneurial, business and investor communities. These include:
Additionally we will often sponsor events taking place in and around Tech City that our Accelerator teams will be welcome to join.
Should I be worried about protecting my intellectual property?
We started the Microsoft Accelerator to engage with entrepreneurs, create value for them as well as expose them to our cloud and developer tools and are committed to this goal.
We receive so many suggestions and ideas each year, that we cannot sign an NDA during the application process. We promise not to share your ideas with anyone, but please keep your secrets – secret.
For companies that are accepted into the Microsoft Accelerator program, we understand the concerns about working in the general framework of a corporate environment. We will enter into and work under an NDA with the participating startups.
We are outsourcing our development - are we still eligible?
We will only accept companies that have the full control.
I have an idea and am looking for a co-founder - can you help?
We don’t have the capability to recruit co-founders, but as part of the Global Accelerator Network, we can connect you with the HackStars service which is designed to do this.
What will the typical day look like?
You will spend the day working hard on your product and building your company. We won’t tell you what to do or when you need to do it. Rather, we provide you with the environment and tools that will help you do what you need to do.
Each startup will have a mentor or group of mentors who will work with them on an ongoing basis. In addition, several times a week, we will organise sessions with mentors, advisors and speakers from tech, financial, marketing/sales and other industries. These could be Q&A sessions with the CTO of a successful startup to discuss how they overcame specific technical challenges, or a session on social marketing from some of London’s best marketers.
We will also have fun evening events from time to time. We encourage a culture of creativity and collaboration.
Do I have to be there for the entire period of the programme?
We are looking for full-timers who will be primarily based on site during the duration of the programme. Being on site allows you to maximize the benefit from the coaching, educational, and networking opportunities that the Accelerator provides. Getting into the Accelerator is a major commitment for both sides, and we do expect you to be around most of the time.