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BizSpark sponsorship ending? What’s your exit strategy?

MSDN Blogs - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 05:42

Two of the ways that Microsoft supports new businesses building software and services on Microsoft platforms are the BizSpark program and the BizSpark Plus program. The programs are designed to help you grow a product business by providing relevant support for different phases of growth. The BizSpark program is our recognition that new product companies don’t have revenue to cover their software licence or service needs, so we provide them to you to give you the flexibility to build what you need. BizSpark Plus recognises that in early stages of an active business you need to be able to cover cloud services bills in advance of revenue. You may have beta customers. You may still be refining your business model. We want to enable you to do that in order to support your growth.

For many new companies, particularly those deploying cloud services, these programs cover an important part of their operating costs. So I want you to think carefully about the fact that they’re fixed term - 3 years for BizSpark and 1 year for BizSpark Plus. Fixed term.

Just as you should have an exit plan for your business, you should also have an exit plan for BizSpark sponsorship. BizSpark is not the only business development support plans available from Microsoft. The best use for these programs is for you to use them to grow your business to fit the next program that you want to target.

The actions you need to take will depend on the type of company you have and the exit plan you want to achieve. I’m going to run through the programs from highest value, but hardest to achieve to the easiest to qualify for. If you don’t quite fit any of these descriptions, don’t back down from applying for higher value programs, particularly the MS Ventures program. Speaking as an MSV CTO, every company applying gets serious consideration and sometimes we bend the rules on acceptance a little.

I’m focusing on some relatively long lived, stable programs. There may also be local programs to support particular types of businesses at a point in time – for example the UK has in the past run programs to support new game studios and new IOT companies. The best way to find these is often to sign up for marketing mail and to participate in local user groups.

High Growth Companies -> Microsoft Ventures

If you have a high growth rate, typically established through a live service and sales, then I’d like you to consider the Microsoft Ventures programs. We take no equity but provide business mentoring, sales opportunities and a much larger Azure sponsorship offer that we want to see used to accelerate the growth of a profitable business. In the UK we take on two small batches of companies every year through a selection process. It’s worthwhile, but it’s also very competitive: Have a Plan B.

Timing will be dependent on when batches start, but you should plan a 2-7 month lead time to get onto the program.

Microsoft Ventures Program Overview

Microsoft Ventures London

High consumption business ($25k+ Azure per year**) -> Microsoft Silver or Gold Partner Programs

** You can achieve this through several routes, but I’m focusing on companies that are dependent on BizSpark programs for Azure credits.

The Microsoft Silver and Gold partner programs are also great exit plans for companies that are going through the MS Ventures program. These are long term programs, so rather than picturing this as simply the next step up, you might see BizSpark and even the MS Ventures programs as on ramps to these programs.

Key requirements are customer references, consumption in Azure as well as qualified staff. If you’re running live services  in Azure then the qualification requirement isn’t likely to be onerous and if you’re growing, obtaining some glowing customer references should be easy for you. Nevertheless, I’d still think about starting to go through the program requirements 2-3 months before the end of the BizSpark program.

Partner Program competencies – I expect most readers will be choosing Cloud Platform Competency

Partner Program benefits and requirements.

Any business left -> Microsoft Action Pack

If you can’t fit any of the above programs the Microsoft Action Pack is our baseline support level to help companies operate and grow

Action Pack sumary


I have my own bucket list of changes I’d love to see to these programs, especially to support existing business building a new product or business model, but it would be great to see your comments on how you think MS should be supporting new businesses and business offerings.

Cloud Design Patterns - Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Skin

MSDN Blogs - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 04:12

Since a lot of people are asking me the sources of my Surface Pro 3 skin, I am publishing it.

It's not a professional or an official Surface skin, but it is based on the Cloud Design Patterns, from Patterns & Practices.

You can print it using online services such as SkinIt, you just have to add an image from this url.


BETT 2016 Guest Post: Computing At School – delivering success through CPD

MSDN Blogs - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 03:15

Computing matters to the future of the UK, but much more importantly it’s about giving every child the essential thinking skills they need to succeed in our digital, connected society. So it matters that every school is doing all it can to give their children the best computing education possible.

...(read more)

Returning spatial data in GeoJSON format - Part 2

MSDN Blogs - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 02:41

In this post I will show you how to export other spatial types such as lines or polygons, into equivalent GeoJSON formats.

...(read more)

Experiencing Data Gaps for Exception Data Type - 01/13 (second occurrence) - Resolved

MSDN Blogs - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 02:10
Final Update: Wednesday, 13 January 2016 10:01 UTC

From 1/13, 08:50 UTC through 1/13, 08:57 UTC a subset of customers may have experienced up to 10% data loss for these data types:  Exception. This was due to a localized issue in part of our Data Pipeline.
  • Root Cause: Complete root cause is still under investigation. Preliminary investigation points to a compartmentalized issue processing exception data type..
  • Lessons Learned: We are investigating improvements in monitoring and dynamic mitigation options. 
  • Incident Timeline: 00 hours & 07 minutes - 1/13, 08:50 UTC through 1/13, 08:57 UTC
We understand that customers rely on Application Insights as a critical service and apologize for any impact this incident caused.

-Application Insights Service Delivery Team

【1/21(木) 22:00 - 23:00 生放送】 Visua Studio アプリ開発超入門 ~ 第1回:Visual Studio Codeで出来ること

MSDN Blogs - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 01:33
明けましておめでとうございます。2016年もよろしくお願い致します。 Visual Studioという名称はよく聞くけど実際どうなんだろうと思っている方。そんなあなた朗報です。Visual Studioがよく分かる3回シリーズの授業をスクーでお届けいたします。 ■日時 第1回: 1月21日(木)  22:00-23:00 ■講師 井上 章(日本マイクロソフト株式会社 エバンジェリスト) ■授業内容 Mac OS XでもLinuxでもWindowsでも無償で使える高機能エディター Visual Studio Code を使ったWebアプリケーション開発入門の3回シリーズです。 第1回目は、Visual Studioファミリーの全体像と、その基礎的な使い方、そして、Visual Studio Codeのセットアップ方法までを取り上げます。第2回目以降で、実際にVisual Studio Codeを使ったWebアプリケーション開発の流れを手順を追ってご紹介します。 ■学習ポイント Visual Studio とは何かを知る...(read more)

Guest post: #TecHeroes Recap n.13

MSDN Blogs - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 01:05

Questo post è stato scritto da Cristian Lepore, Technical Evangelist Intern.

Ci ritroviamo per il nuovo anno dopo festeggiamenti e panettoni con il consueto appuntamento per i nostri aggiornamenti dal mondo tecnologico proposto dallo show su Channel9, #TecHeroes!

Abbiamo aperto la settimana raccontandovi la storia di una bella realtà di innovazione tutta italiana. La startup del mese L’azienda si occupa di rendere social le tv di ogni esercizio commerciale e luogo pubblico per creare intrattenimento per le persone. offre uno strumento per trasformare la televisione e veicolare contenuti dai social e creare così intrattenimento attraverso un semplice device connesso con il nostro televisore. Circa due terzi della loro architettura è gestito tramite la piattaforma Azure ed in particolar modo la dashboard, che è il cuore del prodotto. L’azienda in questo momento è accellerata da TIM#WCAP in Bologna e prevede una rapida crescita nei mesi successivi, grazie anche a BizSpark, il programma Microsoft per le startup.

La settimana successiva è stata la volta invece del Resource Manager. A parlarcene Vito Flavio Lorusso, Senior Program Manager DX Corp, Microsoft, insieme a Jessica Tibaldi, Technical Evangelist Azure & Startup per Microsoft.

Durante la puntata Vito ci ha spiegato in dettaglio cos'è e quali migliorie ha apportato rispetto alla precedente versione del gestore risorse. Per chi non è esperto di Azure, il Resource Manager fornisce un nuovo modo per fare deploy e gestire servizi ed applicazioni creati nel cloud.

In poche parole, usando questo metodo, tutto quello che viene generato sono risorse che hanno un loro resource provider ed interagiscono con il resource manager; questo consente di gestire in modo coeso il ciclo di vita di un'applicazione. Ogni risorsa creata farà parte del Resource Group, all'interno del quale l'utente inserirà tutte le applicazioni e servizi che necessitano di essere gestiti allo stesso modo.


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