Microsoft India announced the final list of select technology startups which will constitute the 2013 winter batch of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Bangalore. Eight companies, namely AdSparx, ShieldSquare, Chance, Frrole, Native5, SignEasy, TommyJams and Whale Logix were selected from 1000+ applications received over two months and after several rigorous rounds of screening by a panel of judges comprising senior leaders from Microsoft and the industry. Scibler, the ninth company, is from the 2013 Summer batch, staying on to achieve more aggressive milestones. Apart from these nine, four more companies, HasGeek, Nanobi, Tookitaki and 1000Lookz will also be closely associated with the Accelerator during this period.
Announcing the third batch, Ravi Narayan, who recently joined the Microsoft Ventures in India leadership team, said: “I am very excited about leading this team. This is the first batch to join the Accelerator after we aligned all startup related activities under a single umbrella called Microsoft Ventures, to be able to engage with entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey from ideation to maturity. Microsoft Ventures Accelerator is a key element in that effort, bridging the gap between early-stage and mid-stage startups. We worked with several accelerators, incubators and industry bodies to source the best companies. We chose them very carefully, from a huge list of applications received across ecommerce, entertainment, digital media, education, enterprise, cloud infrastructure and mobile. Our aim was to ensure that they are at the right stage of their entrepreneurial journey to be able to benefit from the best in class and comprehensive resources the Accelerator provides, namely access to our huge network of mentors, technical experts, partners, early stage customers, investors and industry connections.
Narayan is responsible for Microsoft Ventures Accelerator and its connections with other community initiatives in India. Explaining his vision, he said: Microsoft Ventures, with its breadth of offerings, and its vast and varied resources is uniquely positioned to guide the entrepreneurial ecosystem of India. The Accelerator has so much to offer that it would not be fair to restrict its benefits to only those startups which constitute our two batches every year. We are keen to help any highly motivated technology startup which we feel could benefit from our association. That is why we decided to work with HasGeek, Nanobi, Tookitaki and 1000Lookz, four companies that emerged from the BizSpark program in India. For the same reason we decided to retain Scibler for another four months–they are at a critical juncture of product development and would benefit from the technology mentoring at the Accelerator.
Rajesh Raju, Managing Director of Kalaari Capital, has been closely associated with the Accelerator and was also on the panel of judges that selected the winter batch. A seasoned investor, Rajesh has several years of experience of partnering with budding entrepreneurs and has helped several troubled companies in their turnaround efforts. Sharing his experience, Raju said: “I strongly believe in India’s potential to generate global companies, and that technology will play a very important role in taking more Indian businesses to the world. Worldwide the most successful startups are the ones which have had very strong willed, passionate and hardworking entrepreneurs with simple clear vision. That is what we looked for when we picked this batch. I am very confident that with the support of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator, some of these companies will make India proud, soon.
Congratulating the new batch, Nasscom President Som Mittal, said: “This is an amazing batch of startups, as brilliant as they are varied. And I am extremely proud that some of them were part of the applications we shortlisted from the 4000 we had received for the Nasscom 10000 startups program. We introduced 332 shortlisted companies to some of the country’s leading accelerators, angel networks and VCs and it is great to see few of them at the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator. We thank Microsoft for their tremendous support as a strategic partner and sponsor of our program and look forward to more collaboration to bolster India’s technology innovation landscape.
The winter batch, hosted in the 8,300 sq ft state-of-the-art Accelerator facility in Microsoft’s Lavelle Road office, is currently undergoing a four month deep immersion program which will end with Demo Day in late November.