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How Microsoft can help tech startups to be successful.

 

Creating an app or a product is easy but building a business or company is super hard.

I lead the startup business in Microsoft, my team of technical and business evangelist talk a lot of tech startups and help them to build successful tech startups. I have been doing this for couple of years and in my previous life I have been part of two successful tech startups.

Some of my observations from the tech startup ecosystem are

  • ·         Startups are looking for co-founders, investors but they do not think about partnerships till they are ready to go to market.
  • ·         They are aware of tools and platform to build the product but do not think about free resources to build a company, and run the business.
  • ·         Startups are so focused on creating a product, they do not think about building a business.

Based on my observation I have come up with a notion of startup lifecycle (which incidentally also aligns well with the lean startup movement), phases that every startup goes though from Ideation to Exit. I also want to reiterate the fact that building the app or product is really easy but to build a real business and a company you do need partner and resources that can help you all along the lifecycle.

I am sure there are a ton of free resources that a startup can avail from all around but my write-up is about what Microsoft has to offer and resources that we make available to tech startups to become successful companies. 

Microsoft is the world’s biggest software vendor. Microsoft build tools and platform that that span from cloud to client. Microsoft also has a lot of people in the field, sales and business development teams whose mission is to sell through partners, no one knows the partnership business better than Microsoft. Microsoft has programs and teams with mission of partnering with startups and helping them to be successful on Microsoft platform.

A typical startup lifecycle starts with ideation or concept phase and concludes at exit or breakout phase, obviously it is an iterative process and a lot of pivoting due to external environmental constraints. 

The resources that Microsoft brings to the partnership are not limited to BizSpark, which gives the Microsoft software platform and tools free to qualified startups to build their product and run their business.

Ideation / Concept Phase

This is the most important phase for a startup, this is where the problem is identifies and opportunity surfaces. Microsoft has best, qualified industry experts who can discuss opportunities and gaps with you. Microsoft also participates and host a lot of industry events, you should attend, find opportunities to sit down with experts. These experts are also incentivized to discuss business development opportunities with you and host office hours that you can attend. Reach out to 1776, your local accelerator or incubator, I am sure you will be able to bounce your idea and get a candid feedback. You will also be able to access business and technical experts if you want to learn more about platform, technology or market size

Envisioning / Beta MVP

                As you move into the envisioning phase ready to build an MVP, you can reach out to Microsoft technical architects and developer evangelists in the field. Microsoft evangelists host a lot of office hours, web and developer camps and will spend 1:1 time with you to help you architect and design your MVP. You also have access to BizSpark to get free tools to build MVP. (What can BizSpark do for you!) Startups also get access to Windows Azure, Microsoft Cloud platform to host their MVP or their business website. If you are building an app, you get developer licensed for windows store. Startups also have access to technical, business and Industry experts with Microsoft or within Microsoft partner ecosystem. Evangelists will introduce you to beta customers if needed, will provide reference architecture, opportunity mapping and help to make you successful during your envisioning and building an MVP phase.

Product development / Market Fit

                Microsoft can bring a lot to the table during the Product development phase of your startup. There is design and development guidance from the technical evangelist and partners that you can avail. Along with architecture design session, participating and learning about products, architecture you also can get access to Azure 60K Credit offer and Windows Store Dev Accounts. (Do you know Azure runs LAMP Stack and you can use JavaScript and HTML/CSS to build Windows 8 apps.) You can also seek beta customers and partner introductions, Microsoft team will be happy to help you out for that. If you need to test your application and solution for scalability, load, availability and reliability you can also ask your evangelist to host you at MTC (Microsoft Technology Centers). Microsoft also runs acceleration labs and send engineers from product teams to work with you, answer your questions and help remove any roadblocks that you may be running into, your evangelist can invite you to those sessions.

Revenue / Scaling

                Once the product is ready and you are in selling mode, Microsoft can help you co-marketing your app or solution to achieve your user acquisition goals if you are in consumer space. You can be one of the BizSpark featured startup, we will tweet, FB and blog about you. We will also interview you, your startup journey and your product and put you on video and online channels for promoting your app or solution and help you in your user acquisition. If you are selling to enterprises or are a commercial software startups, we can land some introductions for you at your target customer. We have accounts teams, field sellers and business development managers, whose job is to talk to our big enterprise customers and believe me we have many. Our reps will love to introduce you to your target customer is your solution is relevant. We can also do some creative co-marketing with you and offer you spotlight at our conferences, industry events and online stores. There may also be opportunities to help you find a potential investor via our VC and angle connections.

Exit / Breakout

                Now that you are in the breakout phase, Microsoft will love you to be the poster startup of success. We will love to show you off at our events and conferences. Microsoft may align account teams for growing your business and sell through motions. There will be a lot of Customer introduction and partner management.  At this phase you have become a successful business and there may be opportunities for introduction to potential exit venues.

 

It will not hurt to start thinking about partnering with the 800 pound gorilla who may become your most trusted partner.

Think of this partnership as an investment from Microsoft in your success so when you become more than a million dollar software company and exit from the BizSpark program, Microsoft can start getting its licensing revenue.

Also did I mention that we have our own accelerators around the globe and venture program that you can apply and participate.

You can reach out to the Microsoft startup team on @bizspark or @ashishjaiman.  

As I prepare for the NVTC Vision 2020 Panel – I thought of putting my musings and ideas in writing as well.


Let me begin by putting out a disclaimer that my claims and thoughts below are based on my understanding of today’s technologies, trends and innovation.

I am basing my “speculation” of future technology trends on my readings, musings and public information.  My thoughts are not a reflection and insiders info of the ~$9 billion that Microsoft spends on R&D every year.

I strongly believe that the future innovations in technology will be based on four fundamental drivers that we see today.

1)      Moore’s Law – ever faster increasing cycles of hardware innovation

2)      Cloud Computing  - efficiencies, low friction to computing enabling fast fail innovation and scalable computing

3)      Data Explosion – exponential growth in data and enabling services to consume that data

4)      Ubiquitous connectivity – high speed connectivity and increasing bandwidth

With the above four enabling drivers, the key trends on innovation will be accelerated by human habits of

1)      Constant urge to participate in online communities and social interaction

2)      Blurring the divide between work and play, personal and professional networks

3)      Access to information and heightened sense of instant gratification

4)      Challenging the status quo and increasing desire to change the world

What will work

-          Moore’s law is in play, not just limited to chips but extends to other hardware innovations

-          Storage prices continue to plummet

-          Computing is becoming more affordable and form factors are shrinking

-          Ubiquitous connectivity and increasing bandwidth

-          Proliferation of devices and communication channels

The Limiting factor

-          We still have 24 hours in a day

-          Our senses are limited in how much information we can process and multi task

-          Access to technology and information

The key question that we need to ask that will influence and drive innovation is
“How can technology empower us, extend and amplify our human capabilities?”

The goal of technology is and should be

-          to extend our capabilities,

-          help us to manage our time more effectively,

-          focus our attention to most important things and

-          foster meaningful relationships.

 The future of tech innovation is not to just get our “things” done but help humans to do the right things, do them well and enjoy the experience.

It should help us to learn, grow and take pride in the work that we do.

Key innovations that we will see and will perfect in coming years to achieve the above goals

·         Screens everywhere and On Demand

Transparent thin film displays that can make any surface an interactive screen.

·         Biometric sensors to light up screens and environment to display personalized information

Personalized augmented reality

Spatial layout and organization of content

·         Wearable computing to extend human sense

Natural user actions and interactions as inputs

Voice, gestural inputs

Depth sensing

Emotional sensing

·         Consumable Information

Contextual and personalized content

Data visualization

Task and role based user experiences

Content usage analytics and in-context communication

Semantic entity extraction

·         Virtual Workspaces and playgrounds

Multiuser authoring and editing

Spatial layout and content organization

Auto Scheduling and semantic entity extraction

Content Summarization (text, video, audio)

There will be much more, while my brain hurts thinking about the possibilities but I am controlling the urge and being more practical and reasonable.

Lastly I am sure we will also see

Teleportation

Colonies on Mars and Moon

Flying Cars and People

Alien invasion to speed things up (just to clarify -  from other galaxies)

Some innovation that enables us to understand – why humans act and behave in a certain way J

The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) is the membership and trade association for the technology community in Northern Virginia and is the largest technology council in the nation. Its membership includes companies from all sectors of the technology industry including information technology, software/hardware, Internet, ISPs, telecommunications, biotechnology, bioinformatics, aerospace, and nanotechnology, as well as the service providers that play an important role in supporting these companies. In addition, universities, foreign embassies, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies are members and take an active participation in meeting NVTC goals and objectives.

Honored to be on the panel for vision 2020 - what will be hot and trendy in tech in 2020 :-)
I have some ideas but 7 years is a long time to predict in tech world. One thing is for sure that the low friction to innovate, fast fail methodologies coupled with powerful hardware and flatting of world, the theory of singularity will be real by 2020…

Had an awesome time presenting at #dof2013 - how to build apps and business on Microsoft platform http://t.co/t5eDG3f3tA

SPRING BREAK
STUDENT STARTUP
CODE CAMP
March 24th-26th, Microsoft Reston Office
12012 Sunset Hills Road, Reston, VA 20190
(Across from Reston Town Center)


LEARN: how to come up with good business ideas and what it takes to put together an effective business plan and pitch. You can also learn new technologies and tools that will help you create your idea.

BUILD: your solution from the ground up using the latest tools and technologies. You’ll also be building experience and your network of friends and business relationships.

PITCH: your startup to a panel of judges (and the overall audience) - sharpening your presentation and communication skills, and giving you the opportunity to inspire others with your idea.

WIN: cool prizes, as well as the attention of people who can help you make your idea a reality!


Schedule

Sunday, March 24 (Microsoft Reston office)
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Developer training (optional, but recommended)
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Startup ideation and team formation.
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM: Design and Development (stay as late as you want)
Monday, March 25 (work at home, then Microsoft office at 5pm)
Morning - 5:00 PM: Feel free to work on the projects through the day at your own location or just enjoy the day off - you don’t need to come to Microsoft until 5pm (we may have some room available during the day if you need it, though - ask about it on Sunday).
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Training on startups, business plans and creating/presenting a pitch.
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM: Design/development at the Microsoft Office (stay as late as you want)
Tuesday, March 26 (work at home, then Microsoft office at 5pm)
Morning - 5:00 PM: Feel free to work on the projects through the day at your own location or just enjoy the day off - you don’t need to come to Microsoft until 5pm (we may have some room available during the day if you need it, though - ask about it on Monday).
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM: Pitch Competition, awards, and prizes

Who should come? High School and college students interested in learning how to design and build apps, how to create business plans and cultivate startup ideas, how to work in teams, and how to present a compelling business pitch.

Can I invite my friends? Absolutely… but space is limited, so sign everyone up as soon as possible.

Do I need to stay until 10pm on Sunday and Monday? No - you can leave any time in the evening, we’re just keeping the office open so you can use the facilities. We’ll have food and beverages available each night, too.

How much does it cost? No charge… only your time and energy are required.

How do I sign up? Send an email to Dan Kasun (dankas@microsoft.com) with the names and email addresses of everyone who will attend.

Where can I get more information? Send an email to Dan Kasun (dankas@microsoft.com) with any questions or comments you have.

SPRING BREAK

STUDENT STARTUP

CODE CAMP

March 24th-26th, Microsoft Reston Office

12012 Sunset Hills Road, Reston, VA 20190

(Across from Reston Town Center)

 

LEARN: how to come up with good business ideas and what it takes to put together an effective business plan and pitch.  You can also learn new technologies and tools that will help you create your idea.

 

BUILD: your solution from the ground up using the latest tools and technologies.  You’ll also be building experience and your network of friends and business relationships.

 

PITCH: your startup to a panel of judges (and the overall audience) - sharpening your presentation and communication skills, and giving you the opportunity to inspire others with your idea.

 

WIN: cool prizes, as well as the attention of people who can help you make your idea a reality!

 

Schedule

 

Sunday, March 24 (Microsoft Reston office)

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Developer training (optional, but recommended)

4:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Startup ideation and team formation. 

7:00 PM – 10:00 PM: Design and Development (stay as late as you want)

Monday, March 25 (work at home, then Microsoft office at 5pm)

Morning – 5:00 PM: Feel free to work on the projects through the day at your own location or just enjoy the day off – you don’t need to come to Microsoft until 5pm (we may have some room available during the day if you need it, though – ask about it on Sunday).

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Training on startups, business plans and creating/presenting a pitch.

7:00 PM – 10:00 PM: Design/development at the Microsoft Office (stay as late as you want)

Tuesday, March 26 (work at home, then Microsoft office at 5pm)

Morning – 5:00 PM: Feel free to work on the projects through the day at your own location or just enjoy the day off – you don’t need to come to Microsoft until 5pm (we may have some room available during the day if you need it, though – ask about it on Monday).

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Pitch Competition, awards, and prizes

 

Who should come?  High School and college students interested in learning how to design and build apps, how to create business plans and cultivate startup ideas, how to work in teams, and how to present a compelling business pitch. 

 

Can I invite my friends?  Absolutely… but space is limited, so sign everyone up as soon as possible. 

 

Do I need to stay until 10pm on Sunday and Monday?  No – you can leave any time in the evening, we’re just keeping the office open so you can use the facilities.  We’ll have food and beverages available each night, too.

 

How much does it cost?  No charge… only your time and energy are required.

 

How do I sign up? Send an email to Dan Kasun (dankas@microsoft.com) with the names and email addresses of everyone who will attend.

 

Where can I get more information?  Send an email to Dan Kasun (dankas@microsoft.com) with any questions or comments you have.

Startups, Entrepreneurs join me to learn more about BizSpark, Plus, Windows 8, Azure and anything Microsoft and startups


Create Windows 8 app to tap into huge opportunity - http://aka.ms/mywin8app .

Windows 8 App Madness Challenge.

Create and publish your Windows 8 app by April 11th. Submit your app at this link http://aka.ms/AppMadnessSubmission. Win a $100 visa gift card. Learn more - http://aka.ms/StudentAppMadness


If you need in person help, guidance on how to develop a Windows 8 app please join Ashish Jaiman to office hours in and around DC http://ohours.org/ashishjaiman or @ashishjaiman

Join us for breakfast and an opportunity to experience Windows 8
and Surface Pro this coming Saturday, February 9, 2013 at the Tysons Corner Microsoft retail store.

Microsoft at Tysons Corner Center

1961 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, VA 22102
703-336-8480

We hope to see you there.
 
Surface Pro Launch
Saturday, February 9, 2013
at 10:00 a.m.
Be the first to get the Surface Pro. 
Enter to win prizes!
 
To RSVP, email
Patrick Kakamani
Business Development Specialist
patrick@microsoft.com

Come and Learn about Microsoft technologies with Ashish Jaiman, Director, Startup Strategy at Microsoft. 

Ashish will be holding open office hours at the below times and locations.

Connect 113
113 South Columbus St. Suite100
Alexandria Va 22314

 

February 7th 2013

11:am – 2:00 pm.

http://ohours.org/officehours/26126 

If you have any technical question related to Microsoft platform, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Azure please come and see Ashish who can help answer the question for you.

Ashish can help solve and discuss technical architecture of your solution, business models, go to market, business opportunity and any other start up related queries that you may have.