Microsoft reinforces commitment to UK start-ups

Microsoft's Ventures programme hopes to shine light on promising UK companies

Microsoft has reinforced its commitment to supporting UK start-ups by announcing a number of collaborations with incubators and accelerator companies through its Venture programme.

Those teaming up with Microsoft include Level39, ASOS and GrowthAccelerator, which will all impart their wisdom and experience to the participants of the Microsoft Venture programme.

Founded in 2013, the initative is an effort to pool Microsoft's start-up programmes under one banner and give prospective entrepreneurs a single point of entry.

Zack Weisfeld, senior director of Microsoft Ventures, told journalists at the software giant's Pitch event in central London yesterday that connections with big companies like Microsoft can help fledgling firms grow into successful businesses.

At the event, 12 start-ups showcased their ideas to a panel of investors and judges, which included Michel van der Bel, managing director of Microsoft UK.

Each of the prospective companies participated in the three-month long Ventures Accelerator scheme, having applied and been chosen from thousands of entries for their unique ideas. After receiving help from mentors and advisors, each set about creating the most viable business plan possible.

Of the 12, which included mobile ordering platform Barpass, cloud monitoring service Dataloop and games development studio Gateway Interactive, four have already been approached by Microsoft for further development.

Anand Krishnan, general manager of the developer and platform Group at Microsoft, refused to reveal the chosen four, but said Microsoft Ventures demonstrates the company's "continued dedication to the London start-up community at large".

"We now have a UK start-up ecosystem with the potential to deliver blockbuster tech companies on a global scale," he added.

Applications for the next accelerator programme are open, supported by a technology seed fund. Companies looking to break new ground in cloud, big data and ecommerce are encouraged to apply.

Nick Magliocchetti, founder of start-up accelerator Ventures in Motion, said: "We feel it is important for the wider ecosystem to further support this rapidly growing pool of entrepreneurial talent.

"An open, collaborative, and committed startp community is helping raise the bar," he said.

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