• 3 min read

Microsoft Azure helps Indian Startups find their footing

It goes without saying that startups face an uphill journey in their initial years as they establish themselves. Azure offers immense scalability so startups can transition smoothly from extremely different levels of infrastructure usage.

It is an exciting time to be a startup in India. The statistics speak for themselves. In the first quarter of 2015, Indian startups raised $1.7 billion from investors whereas in 2014 Q1, the amount raised was close to $450 million, which means a 300% growth in the amount raised in one year. 300 startup deals were finalised during the entire financial year in 2014, while half that many deals have already been made official in Q1 of 2015. These numbers are one of the highest in the startup scene across the world.

It goes without saying that startups face an uphill journey in their initial years as they struggle to establish themselves. From convincing talented people to work for them, to struggling to raise the capital, startups face several issues. But there are some tough challenges like acquiring the initial infrastructure that is often expensive and difficult to maintain when the firm is still in its nascent stage. Another bottleneck is getting the product development license which is often fraught with bureaucratic delays. One would expect industry giants to view startups as future competitors. But increasingly industry leaders are supporting promising newcomers through their early days in a mutually beneficial partnership. Microsoft, for example, makes a huge difference to startups with Azure, a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed datacentre. Azure offers immense scalability so startups can transition smoothly from extremely different levels of infrastructure usage. This helps young firms to save money and effort on their platform and infrastructure and focus on their core areas. Actually there are several born-in-the-cloud partners of Microsoft, which are startups dedicated to offering customised cloud solutions.

Microsoft also helps startups in other ways. For example, Microsoft BizSpark is a Microsoft program that provides support to software entrepreneurs. BizSpark Startups gets access to 900+ current, full-featured software development tools, platform technologies, and server products to build software applications. They also get free monthly Microsoft Azure benefits enabling them to quickly build, deploy, and manage Web applications. Free Microsoft Azure cloud services mean cost savings that the startup can utilise by spending in other priority areas, such as hiring developers, investing in marketing and acquiring new customers. The amount of difference the free use of Azure gives startups makes all the difference to a young startup that is just finding its feet. Financially speaking, this comes up to about $60000 of savings for a year.

The BizSpark Alumni continue to reap benefits like availing discounts even after graduating. BizSpark Alumni can also purchase two years’ worth of discounted MSDN subscriptions to continue to download software and get monthly access to Microsoft Azure and the option of 2 years of discounted Software Assurance for ongoing maintenance and upgrades to servers when a new version is released.

BizSpark BizSpark Plus Microsoft Ventures
  • Get up to $750 per month of FREE Azure cloud services for 3 years; that’s $150 per month each for up to 5 developers.
  • Get up to $ 60,000 of FREE Azure cloud services for 1 year
  • Immersive programs for entrepreneurs
  • Free software and tools such as Visual Studio and Office
  • FREE software and tools such as Visual Studio and Office
  • Strong mentoring and technical guidance from Microsoft startup experts
  • Available to tech startups less than 5 years old, privately held, and earning less than $1 million annually
  • Available to members of select Accelerators
  • Connections to large enterprise customers and global brands

NanoBI Analytics took a strategic decision to become a Microsoft Bizspark member right at the outset and not look at any other offerings as Microsoft provided affordable software, training and mentoring to Bizspark or Windows Azure customers.Affordable Microsoft Azure met their needs as it’s an broad and open platform which allowed NanoBI to consolidate their financial gains to customers.

CloudMunch is another startup that partnered with Microsoft to enable Azure apps to go live faster and at lower costs. Founded in 2011, CloudMunch is democratizing DevOps by providing a powerful, extensible, full stack platform to make continuous delivery of applications and infrastructure. The firm promises a 40% reduction in costs and at least 30% reduction in time to market. The highly experienced founding team, brings a solid understanding of cloud into the building of this product.

Start-ups are getting encouragement from all quarters. The government and corporate India are putting their time and money behind nurturing innovative entrepreneurial ventures. To encourage disruptive tech startups, Microsoft Ventures, in partnership with Reliance Industries, has set up the GenNext innovation hub startup accelerator. The first batch of 11 startups is all set to graduate from the GenNext innovation hub after four months of rigorous training.

All this reinforces how positive circumstances are for startups right now and entrepreneurs are certainly benefiting from the supportive environment in India. With the highly scalable cloud computing platforms like Azure and other support offered by Microsoft, like BizSpark and Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Programs, startups just need to make the right decisions and use all these options to become successful.