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Microsoft BizSpark - A spark for startups

They say all big things begin with an idea. And when it comes to successful technology ventures, some of the biggest have their roots in India. Microsoft is now eyeing this very potential market with BizSpark.

The program targets early stage software startups, with resources including access to Microsoft platform software and development tools with no upfront costs. As you’ve probably figured the program is a bid to keep the open source mafia at bay. It is no secret that startups are very cost-conscious. Given the relative lack of cost effective software solutions, they often tend to veer towards open source. Microsoft understands the price-attraction of open source, and hence, it is basically undercutting that advantage.

Besides this, the program also provides access to technical support and marketing visibility from Microsoft, as well as support through a select group of network partners — industry associations, government agencies, university incubators and investors — chartered with advancing entrepreneurialism.

In India, these partnerships include The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), NEN, Proto, NASSCOM and IDG Ventures, a venture capital firm. Other VC firms supporting the initiative include Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Helion Venture Partners and Accel Partners. Virtually everything a startup needs to build a web service (many of the tools and software compete with open source alternatives, such as MySQL) is being offered to startups for free for three years. The idea, they say, is to create a vibrant startup ecosystem in India.