Microsoft AI Innovate to empower AI start-ups in India

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on October 20, 2021

Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India   -  Prashant Nakwe

A 10-week initiative will help start-ups scale operations, drive innovation and build industry expertise

Microsoft has launched Microsoft AI Innovate, a programme for nurturing and scaling start-ups that are leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Microsoft AI Innovate is a 10-week initiative that will support start-ups in India leveraging AI technologies, helping them scale operations, drive innovation, and build industry expertise.

Both B2B and B2C start-ups from diverse industries including financial services, healthcare, education, agriculture, space, manufacturing and logistics, retail, and e-commerce can participate in the quarterly cohorts of this programme. Supported by TiE Mumbai, the launch cohort will kickstart in November.

Speaking at the launch, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said, "AI is increasingly at the heart of digital transformation and Microsoft is invested deeply in helping organisations transform through AI. Microsoft AI Innovate program aims to empower start-ups, for meaningful innovation as they scale by helping them with businesses and industry expertise in AI. In the first three months of this program, we will really focus on the BFSI and the manufacturing, logistics for the first two cohorts.”

Through this programme, Microsoft will focus on providing tech and business opportunities to start-ups for improving their solutions, transforming their organisations, and building responsibly to make AI accessible to everyone. It will also enable start-ups to reach out to newer customers and geographies with Microsoft’s sales and partner networks. The selected start-ups in each of the cohorts will have access to industry deep-dive sessions and AI masterclasses by industry experts, mentoring by unicorn founders, skilling, and certification opportunities, among other benefits.

Range of benefits

Catering to both technical and business audiences, the programme will bring together leading-edge tech know-how, global GTM partnerships as well as engineering and research experts from Microsoft. It offers a range of benefits to start-ups across different tiers such as qualified Seed to Series B start-ups will be provided with technical enablement benefits including Azure benefits (in addition to free cloud credits), product engineering support, unlimited 24x7 technical support amongst many other benefits.

“Microsoft’s vision is to help every start-up across industries turn meaningful innovation into actionable results. Microsoft AI Innovate will create an engaging platform to empower start-ups with opportunities to build, scale and transform with agility. We are committed to ensuring that every start-up gets expert guidance and best-in-class tech resources for strengthening their approach to the responsible use of AI,” said Sangeeta Bavi, Director, Startup Ecosystem, Microsoft India.

They will also receive support with business and sales acceleration needs such as marketplace onboarding. Start-ups with enterprise-ready solutions will be provided opportunities to build their solutions alongside a dedicated team of professionals. They will get go-to-market support as well as co-selling benefits with Microsoft’s sales team and partner ecosystem. The start-ups will also get access to top partner and customer events to strengthen their networking reach.

Further, enterprise-ready start-ups will be supported to envision their solutions with industry experts, future proofing their technology with dedicated professionals as well as enhancing production with expert partners. Microsoft AI Innovate aims to bring together start-ups, corporates, industry bodies, governments, and venture capital firms, and create a shared platform for learning and innovation.

Published on October 20, 2021

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