BENGALURU: Microsoft Ventures’ startup accelerator programme launched in Bengaluru in 2012 has been one of the most prestigious such programmes in the country. Now, the company has launched two new accelerator programmes — Accelerator Plus and Scale Up — that will focus on late-stage startups.
It has selected 11 startups for the two programmes from over 1,400 applications. The startups were shortlisted by an external jury of six that included Inventus Capital Partners managing director Samir Kumar, and RedBus co-founder Phanindra Sama.
The startups were selected based on their current customer traction, market potential and funding. The Scale Up programme will focus on startups that have raised a large seed or series funding, while Accelerator Plus will cater to companies that have raised less than $1 million in seed funding.
“One of the key issues we identified was that there was little or no help available for later stage start-ups in India,” Ravi Narayan, MD of Microsoft Ventures India, said. “This concurred with similar observations made through the pilot of Accelerator Plus, where we noticed that the 10 later stage start-ups who went through the programme benefited more from the mentoring and showed better results, faster,” he said.
Startups selected for Accelerator Plus include ad revenue optimizer AdPushUp, and recommendation platforms Frilp and iReff.
The first batch of Scale Up will include iBot, a plug-and-play internet of everything company, FortunePay, which provides tools for enhancing customer engagement, and CustomerXPs, a real-time customer experience and fraud prevention tool for banking.
Narayan said two-thirds of the applicants were referred by VCs, angels and organizations like Nasscom and TiE.
Microsoft Ventures has so far graduated five batches comprising 63 startups since the accelerator programme commenced in 2012. About 67% of startups have received funding within a year of joining the programme, while three startups — Bookpad, Adepto and Plustxt– have been acquired.