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Microsoft launches startup accelerator programme in India

Microsoft has announced the launch of Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure in India, a startup accelerator programme under which 10 technology startups will be selected for a four-month incubation programme. Online applications will be accepted till July 1, 2012, and the programme will kick off on September 3 at Microsoft’s Bangalore office. Startups leveraging the Cloud technology for verticals like e-commerce, mobile, media, social applications, gaming, education and healthcare, enterprise and telecom, are eligible to apply for the programme.

Microsoft won’t have any stake in the selected companies and at the end of the four-month period, it will organise a ‘demo day’ when the startups will pitch their ideas to angel investors and VCs for funding.

Although the company won’t provide funding in the form of hard cash, each startup will get $60,000 in Azure credit through the Microsoft BizSpark Plus programme. They can also leverage Microsoft products (the Metro user interface on Windows 8 and Windows Phone), tools and the Cloud platform, apart from getting help from the mentors.

The mentors will include successful entrepreneurs, leading venture capitalists and technical & business leaders in the technology space, including those from Microsoft. However, the company is still in the process of finalising its list of mentors.

“Through this initiative, Microsoft is partnering with leading industry mentors to provide startups with the support they need to become successful businesses. We are not only providing them technical and business guidance and mentoring, but also connecting them to prospective VCs and angel investors (like Mumbai Angels, Indian Angel Network, etc.),” said Amit Chatterjee, MD of Microsoft India (R&D).

The company has already launched a similar programme in Israel and announced another in Seattle.