Microsoft on Monday announced the expansion of the Microsoft Ventures partnership program into Africa.
But what is Microsoft Ventures? Microsoft Ventures was introduced in June of 2013 as a coordinated global effort to offer tools, resources, expertise and routes to market for start-ups through partnerships with accelerators around the world with 88 MPH selected as the first African accelerator partner in this series. Microsoft and 88mph will work together to provide start-ups with mentorship, technology guidance, seed funding from venture and capital investors as well as joint selling opportunities from its wide network of influence.
“Through the 4Afrika Initiative, we are deeply committed to fostering African innovation and to fueling Africa’s economic growth and competitiveness, and we are very proud to see Microsoft Ventures extend its reach into the African continent,” said Amrote Abdella, Director of the 4Afrika Venture Capital and Startup Programs. “We strongly believe that with the right support, African startups hold tremendous potential to impact both their local economies and the world’s perception of African-led innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Some of the criteria that will be sued to choose the companies to be part of Microsoft Ventures is:
- must have a full-time founding team
- a bold vision for tackling a real problem
- technologically driven solutions
- less than 1 million USD raised in investment cash as of the time of being picked
If the solution is scalable both inside and outside Africa, the start-up stands a higher chance of attracting Microsoft’s Venture team.
“Microsoft is a company that deeply understands the value of the ecosystem, and we believe that by working together, 88mph and Microsoft can offer a world-class launch pad to African startups looking to achieve true scale. We share a deep commitment to the African startup community and look forward to showcasing more and more African innovators on the world stage.” said Nikolai Barnwell, 88 MPH’s Nairobi Director.
The graduating startups from 88mph’s most recent accelerator class will participate in a DemoDay on Dec. 5 in Nairobi where, with Microsoft’s help, the startups will present their businesses and opportunities to invited investors.
Through the BizSpark program, the company has already helped support 625 African startups to date by providing access to Microsoft tools and technologies, and this program will continue. And for the second consecutive year, the company is also a sponsor of DEMO Africa, a start-up ‘pitch and demo’ competition taking place at the Safari Park Hotel on 24th and 25th October in Nairobi.