Microsoft has made its Startups Founders Hub generally available and relaxed the program’s eligibility criteria, meaning a founder need only have an idea to gain access.
Instead of providing traditional benefits, such as lump sum cash, Microsoft is instead providing startups with incremental amounts of Azure Credits over their journey through the program. At the “ideation” stage, start-ups can get up to $1,000 in credits per year, rising to $120,000 for businesses ready to scale.
No upfront funding is required for participation, removing many barriers founders might face in other programs. While the program could benefit business founders early on, by offering Azure credits, Microsoft could end up locking these new businesses into its cloud platform from day one.
In a blog post announcing the revamped program, Microsoft also detailed a new partnership with nonprofit artificial intelligence research lab OpenAI. Founded in 2015 by Elon Musk, Sam Altman and others, OpenAI received a billion dollar investment from Microsoft in 2019.
As a result of this new partnership, participating startups will get exclusive access to $1,000 in OpenAI credits, three free months of an OpenAI API Innovation license, and a free consultation with an OpenAI expert.
Along with these credits, participants will have access to products, including 20 seats of GitHub Enterprise and five of Visual Studio Enterprise for one year. Ten Microsoft 365 seats and seats for the Power and Dynamics 365 platforms are also offered. Mentoring, training, networking and technical support are all included.
In a blog post announcing the program changes and proposed incentives, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of cloud and AI at Microsoft, acknowledged that it can be difficult to navigate creative headwinds. of a startup.
“Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub meets founders where they are, providing the best developer tools and a wide range of cloud offerings across all functions, so startups can reduce costs and accelerate development with a partner in who they can trust,” Guthrie said.
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