Part of a new global initiative in coordination with Microsoft’s Global Development Centers (GDC) in China, Israel and India, Microsoft has chartered its accelerators to drive adoption of the cloud platform and expand its role within the startup communities located in these entrepreneurial hot spots.
"We decided to launch the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure in China because we believe the perfect combination of factors are present here that will have the potential to inspire great new product ideas," said S. Somasegar, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, responsible for Microsoft Server & Tools Business’ GDCs and Developer Division. "The new breed of entrepreneurs emerging combined with a strong VC and Angel investor network means new companies have the foundation to innovate successfully in a large and growing domestic market. And with the access to the global markets that the Cloud technologies bring, there are possibilities for growth that are almost unlimited."
The accelerator will be located in the ARD campus in Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park, China’s technology hub and “Silicon Valley.” The accelerator's unique ecosystem, supported by the local government, surrounded by more than 2,000 Microsoft engineers and scientists, and placed in the Chinese center of innovation, helps put it in a unique position to lead the upcoming wave of cloud development. Microsoft intends to expand to Shanghai in the not too distant future.
"For all of us on the accelerator team, the excitement and energy the startups exhibited while they pitched their dreams were contagious,” said David Lin, Microsoft Accelerator Director. “We selected the 10 finalists based on team maturity, sound business model and solid technology. It’s amazing that in three months’ time we moved from having an idea about engaging a startup ecosystem to having hi-potential startups join us. We’re humbled by the opportunity to work so closely with such a talented group of entrepreneurs and our partners, and aware that our effort will be a continual learning process."
In this first session, the Chinese accelerator targets a different segment of startups than those in Israel and India, selecting companies in a more advanced stage of development. China’s startup teams are in the pre "A" stage with products available and established user bases. Most of the startups teams are expected to seek series "A" funding upon graduation.
China’s accelerator is also the first to embrace open source platforms. Startup teams are supplied with Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure, but there are no other requirements regarding development platforms. In fact, six of the 10 startups are developing on open source technologies, demonstrating the accelerator's commitment to openness.
For six months, accelerator startups will receive world-class mentorship from a diverse group of top technologists and entrepreneurs, including national thought leaders and six IEEE fellows from Microsoft. Additionally, each startup will receive two years of access to Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud infrastructure worth $60,000 as well as a bevy of Microsoft software and development tools as part of the BizSpark Plus program.
The participating startups – initially selected from well screened referrals and following a pitch before a panel of Microsoft executives, and VC investors – were picked based on strength of vision, technology, management quality and potential. The below were chosen from a pool of 46 candidate teams:
- Snack Studio – A design driven team that creates high-quality Windows Phone applications, with every app the product of extensive research and analysis, geared to facilitate user enjoyment.
- Microcare – An innovative company dedicated to providing quality service for mobile APP networks. Its pioneering service platform, Devs Desktop Real Device Testing Suite, provides testing services tailor-made for app developers.
- Fotoable – A mobile, multimedia company with special focus on photo-related applications in areas such as album management, special effects, and animation.
- Unidust - Wormhole is a leading "Siri"-like voice assistant for Android that enables users to have a conversation with their phone, makes phones easier to operate, and helps solve life problems.
- EachCloud – A webpage bookmark tool that puts the webpages that intrigue a user into a short summary, or a webclip. Users who have similar webclips and interests can find each other, and even become friends.
- BanBao – BanBao is a free Personalized Social Information Companion that puts your friends, news and tweets in one place so you can access them anywhere, anytime.
- OpenXLive – A mobile gaming social network platform that offers compelling features including leader board, achievements, multi-player and SNS integration.
- ApeHills – Creator of edu-tainment oriented apps and language learning apps for the Japanese market that is looking to expand into the Chinese market.
- FeiYan – An app that allows users to gift a custom meal via text message, a very welcomed idea in China's guanxi oriented culture.
- Atom – Creates social collaboration tools that help mid- to small-sized enterprises socialize and coordinate software.
“These young firms represent more than the next generation of technology leaders in China,” said Ya-Qin Zhang, Microsoft Corporate Vice President and ARD Chairman. “They are also helping cloud computing fulfill a national ambition as a catalyst for China’s future and advancement. In particular, in encouraging a supportive community and culture of entrepreneurship – including a safety net that encourages risk taking and acceptance of failure – Microsoft partners with Zhongguancun’s mission to build a world-class science park and a base of innovation."
Cloud Computing, one of the six technology focuses within the China State Council’s Twelve-Five Year Plan (2011-2015), promises to play a significant role in helping China reach its aims of becoming a global technology innovation powerhouse and in its continued economic development and reform. According to recent research conducted by IDC, by the end of 2015, nearly 14 million new jobs worldwide will be created as a result of cloud computing. China, Indonesia and India together are expected to produce more than 7 million of these opportunities.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
About Microsoft Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group:
Microsoft Asia-Pacific Research and Development Group (ARD) has built an innovation chain that spans four pillars: fundamental research, technology incubation, product development and ecosystem partnership. It has the most complete organizational structure, comprehensive business operations and largest R&D investment outside of the United States with more than 3,000 people located in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, and Sydney.