The Accelerator program of Microsoft Ventures in Bangalore commenced its fourth batch a couple of months ago – comprising of 16 startups – the biggest class yet!
Selecting this batch was definitely challenging. We received 850 plus applications from a variety of startups. Throughout the process, it seemed evident that quite a few world-class startups built by high quality entrepreneurs were emerging here in India. And some of these startups came highly recommended by our partners, so it was all the more difficult to bring it down to a small number of startups.
I have been closely involved with Indian startups for over 8 years now. A lot is changing every day. But some things have stayed the same, some habits have been hard to break – the large number of service companies, the number of companies copying what succeeded in mature markets, etc. However, not everyone has conformed to these habits. A noticeable change in the ecosystem has been the jump in the number of product startups in the last few years. More and more startups are leaning away from services to a more product-oriented focus. Furthermore, some of the more established service companies, having gained a clear understanding of the market and its needs, are deciding to get into the product space – in order to deliver what they believe the market needs. Thinxteam and ZingHR in the current class are great examples of this development. Both have modified their business models considerably and gained tremendous traction as a result. This is very encouraging for the product company ecosystem.
Another interesting change that is evident is that Indian startups are increasingly starting to identify and solve local problems. We are now starting to see companies with ideas that are fundamentally sound, being locally relevant with the chance of it scaling globally. Instasafe and Voonik are two companies that are addressing the Indian market primarily, but hold promise for the global markets in due time.
As ideas get more disruptive, they sometimes take longer to evolve and mature as they go through various stages of funding. At Microsoft Ventures, we are happy to help them along their way regardless of the stage. We try to emulate the composition of the class of startups to mirror the kinds of companies in the Indian ecosystem.
Our accelerator program is structured so there are several touch points of value – with customers, partners, mentors, investors and our internal Microsoft colleagues. Seasoned entrepreneurs monitor the progress on a regular basis so the startups can get the maximum benefit from the program and make any course correction, if necessary.
Microsoft Ventures has been maturing our accelerator program around the world in several locations besides Bangalore – Tel Aviv, Beijing, Berlin, London and Paris. These locations offers our startups a variety of opportunities to work with Microsoft Ventures teams and mentors all over the world. Even after the startups graduate, they get to access these global resources as portfolio companies of Microsoft Ventures.
So take a step back and see if you are at a stage of your startup where you can really take off. If you truly believe so, you should apply to the next batch at http://aka.ms/MVABangalore.
I have listed the companies in the 4 class so it gives you an idea of what companies make up the batch. You’ll notice that the companies span various dimensions. For example:
Check out the complete list below.
|An online scheduling software that helps businesses to grow exponentially using in-built CRM and marketing tools.|
|Growth hacking toolkit for mobile apps.|
|Making digital content more accessible|
|Sports fan engagement platform.|
|The online home food marketplace.|
|Instantly build your trusted network from any device and access your corporate applications and files securely.|
|The Dropbox for contacts.|
|Democratizing big data and analytics for the life sciences and health care: 1 billion connections and growing…|
|MyBusTickets.in’s vision is to be the market leader in the global cloud and mobility based bus ticketing market.|
|Tying the healthcare threads together.|
|Discover the world’s best educational content.|
|Innovative printing solutions for mobile users.|
|Engaging video streaming experience across all devices and networks.|
|India’s first stylist-handpicked fashion store.|
|Never ever bother about what to do in HR. Just ZingHR!|
|India's only exclusively self-drive car rental company.|