Unlike previous years, where the program – now taking in its fourth ever batch – was only looking at fresh tech startups, the newly launched Accelerator Plus Program is certainly a boon for startups that have already moved to the next level.
The next level is a stage where startups are actually serving some customers in the market and are seeing some traction. However, they might be faced with other challenges in the market, like sustaining their business, retaining customers, and gradually expanding their client-base and offerings.
The 2014 summer batch is made up of 16 startups:
Appointy – This is an online appointments platform for businesses.
App Virality – As the name suggests, this is a set of tools to help developers make their app more popular.
Bookpad – An online document storing, editing, and embedding service.
Boutline – This promises to be a way to get an event audience to perform social tasks that promote a brand.
Imly – A marketplace for home cooks to connect with hungry locals.
InstaSafe – Remote cloud access to work applications for businesses.
IntouchApp – Online contacts syncing and back-up.
Metaome – Big data for businesses.
Sliderule – An online learning hub.
Voonik – A fashion e-store for women that focuses on giving users a make-over.
MyBusTickets.in – Bus tickets, obviously.
Praxify – An online healthcare platform for the medical industry.
Thinxtream – Device management software for businesses.
Touchfone – App development company.
ZingHR – Online dashboard and management for the human resources sector.
Zoom – Online meetings service.
6 mature startups
Six among those 16 startups – MyBusTickets.in, Praxify, Thinxstream, Touchfon, ZingHR and Zoom – are more mature ventures that’ll be part of the new Accelerator Plus Program. Ravi Narayan, the director of Microsoft Ventures comments:
The good thing about this batch is that most of these companies already have a certain amount of customer traction and the Accelerator Program is well positioned to step in and help them move ahead faster than they would have otherwise. We saw a lot of great applications this time around, which means the startup ecosystem is evolving rapidly.
According to Narayan, the new initiative with later-stage startups is for more mature companies that are closer to VC funding; however it’s also a crucial stage when they need more attention and support.
“We at Microsoft Ventures feel this is the time they need the most help, when from an investor standpoint they are getting ready to graduate into the mainstream,” Narayan explains.
35 startups have graduated from the Indian branch of the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Program since August 2012. About 80 percent of these have attracted funding; two graduates, Adepto and Plustxt, have been acquired.
(Editing by and additional material from Steven Millward)