Microsoft Accelerator Teams Up With Accenture Ventures to Give Further Boost to Local AI and Blockchain Ecosystems
In the hopes of bolstering India’s already robust start-up ecosystem, Microsoft Accelerator will be teaming up with Accenture Ventures to invest in growth-stage companies in the B2B space in India that focus on AI, Internet of Things, augmented/virtual reality, blockchain, fintech, big data, cyber-security, as well as customer experience solutions. The announcement at ThinkNext 2018, the flagship event of the Microsoft Accelerator, coincided with the 11th batch of Microsoft Accelerator Bengaluru.
According to their newsroom, Accenture Ventures said that the ‘[s]tart-ups stand to gain by developing innovative solutions for enterprise use cases created out of the synergy between Microsoft Accelerator and Accenture Ventures and their shared innovation ecosystems consisting of start-ups, venture capitalists, universities and corporate R&D labs.’
When we spoke to Microsoft Accelerator Bengaluru CEO Bala Girisiballa last year, he was of the opinion that the determinant of success for a startup is the ability to ‘meet and grow with partners.’ Given this new partnership and the know-how and support that can flow from Accenture Ventures, the next batch have much to look forward to in terms of collaboration and coordination. ‘You can’t just do it alone.’ Girisaballa said, ‘Closing deals is hard without partners.’
Avinash Sabarwal, manager of Accenture Ventures, thought along similar lines, saying that ‘this ecosystem partnership is an example of how we orchestrate the innovation ecosystem and create opportunities for start-ups to grow and scale-up. We are excited about the unique value that Accenture Ventures and Microsoft Accelerator can together create for start-ups and enterprises.’
The move comes at a time when the startup ecosystem is booming, with many new opportunities flourishing in India. “In 2009 the startup scene in India was pretty nascent. You were probably only ever one degree away from any other startup.” Girisaballa said. “We’ve come a long way very quickly,” he said of what’s happened in India over the last decade, “the ecosystem growth has picked up. There are some macro indicators for that. Worldwide, the movement of the cloud has impacted large companies’ growth and their IT and that has put pressure on the services industry. All of that energy is got channelled and [the ecosystem] evolved much quickly and that was a boon in a lot of ways.”