Microsoft Cultivates Innovation and Entrepreneurship For Startups in China.
The Microsoft Ventures Accelerator (MVA) Fourth Class Demo Day took place in Beijing, with 10 startups in the accelerator class demonstrating their achievements in the past six months to venture capital firms, industry experts, partners and media. Microsoft Venture Accelerator also announced the names of the 19 startups selected for its fifth class as it marked the second anniversary of MVA inChina. In addition to continuing its commitment to providing free support for the class members, Microsoft Ventures Accelerator reiterated its commitment to providing comprehensive resources and support to Chinese startups and a growing number of partners in order to build a global startup support ecosystem to help Chinese startups to grow and expand worldwide.
“Microsoft is strongly committed to helping dynamic Chinese startups realize their potential globally through the program,” said Ya-Qin Zhang, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Corporation, Chairman of Microsoft Asia-Pacific R&D Group, at the event. “We are very excited to hear from class members that Microsoft Ventures Accelerator has empowered them in substantive ways. This is a very important way for us to contribute toChina’s innovation-driven development. We will continue to leverage our technological advantages and industry resources to help startups improve their global competitiveness and contribute to a sustainable startup and innovation ecosystem around the world.”
Vanessa Gao, CEO in Residence of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Greater China, said, “We have been making continuous efforts to accelerate the growth of our class members through technological support, training, market and user matchups, talent recruitment, and financing assistance. While fully integrating internal and external resources, we have also entered into strategic cooperation with partners in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as we provide startups with diversified global support for growth. Looking forward, we will continue to refine our acceleration plans in light of the practical needs of startups to further empower them on the journey to success.”
Leveraging its leading advantages in areas such as cloud computing and big data, Microsoft is working to build an open global platform for Chinese startups. During the recruitment for its fifth class, Microsoft Ventures Accelerator announced that all recruited startups will have opportunities to use its offices for free across multiple countries such as the United States, India and Israel. This provision of resources and offices will reduce startups’ costs for overseas operation, and open up a larger platform for them in their efforts to go global. In order to transcend geographical constraints so as to provide support for more excellent startups and diversify team backgrounds, Microsoft Ventures Accelerator has also entered into strategic cooperation with innovative enterprise incubation programs in Hong Kong and Taiwan to encourage excellent startups to join the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program.
On Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Global Startup Day held in San Francisco in June, 11 tech startups from China, the United States, Britain, India and Israel were selected from the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program to showcase their achievements to more than 150 professionals from venture capital firms, investment banks and IT companies. Three Chinese firms – Testin, Allmobilize and Guardtime demonstrated the extraordinary strength of and potential for Chinese tech startups and gained recognition and resources from leading global partners.
The recruitment for the fifth class was also attended by Rahul Sood, Global General Manager and Partner of Microsoft Ventures. He said that Microsoft Ventures Accelerator will spare no efforts in providing Chinese startups with Microsoft Ventures’ unique global perspective and a platform from which they can overcome national barriers in receiving global support. In June of this year, Bill Gates visited the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator class in Beijing, where he shared his views on innovation and entrepreneurship with the startups and praised the achievements of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in China.
During today’s demo day, Microsoft Ventures Accelerator celebrated its second anniversary in China with startups from the first four classes along with new members from the fifth class, and mentors, partners and venture capital firms. Over the past two years, Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in China has supported 66 startups from different industries and areas and provided them with 60 best-in-class business mentors, 150 hours of training, more than 350 interns and more than 1,000 resumes from experienced professionals. MVA-supported startups have received an average of RMB1-1.5 million in resources each. Of the 66 startups, 90 percent have obtained funds from investment institutions to greatly accelerate their growth.
Of the startups graduating from the fourth class, PICOOC, a mobile Internet company focusing on smart home devices, obtained USD21 million in series B financing during its six-month period in the MVA program, with sales topping 60,000 units. SegmentFault, China’s largest youth developer community, has attracted nearly 200,000 developers, while MYBANK, a startup committed to building an Internet finance cloud and personal banking platform, signed contracts with ten financial institutions, reached 50 million users, and obtained RMB10 million in financing during its six-month acceleration.
Hundreds of startups applied for the fifth MVA class, and eventually 19 were recruited after rigorous rounds of evaluation. The startups cover a wide range of areas, including one-stop cloud services to accelerate app development; low-cost loans for individuals and small businesses that use financial big data; Internet marketplaces that help designers and creators to materialize their business value; smart digital healthcare services for mother and infant health that utilize unique combinations of software and hardware; remote vehicle diagnostics and data analytics; indoor location technology and services; wearable device development and design; and low-cost distributed denial-of-service (DDos) prevention services for businesses. Most of the 19 startups in the fifth class are in their initial stages, with some recommended by MVA Hong Kong and Taiwanpartners. The fifth class of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator will last for six months, starting in July 2014 and ending in January 2015.
Since the launch of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator two and half years ago, the program has successfully accelerated 205 startups worldwide in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris, Seattle and Tel Aviv. In addition to the support and resources provided by MVA, the startups have the opportunity to learn about emerging trends in global innovation and entrepreneurship to help them make a truly unique and global impact. As more and more startups join Microsoft Ventures Accelerator, a global startup acceleration and support ecosystem is taking shape.