Microsoft Founders Hub
When you start a business, one of the main initial concerns is how are you going to finance the initial days of your startup. In the old days, starting a technology business was extremely costly. Imagine starting a business for which you need to first get an office, then, build all the servers and infrastructure, buy equipment, and so on and so on. It sounds like something impossible. Some of those tech founders from the past deserve all the credits. Nowadays instead, starting a business is becoming cheaper and cheaper every year. Thanks to remote work, you don’t need an office to start any more, thanks to internet, you can interact with your colleagues from any part in the world with real time communication tools like zoom, Microsoft 365 teams, slack, whatsapp, and you can save all the infrastructure costs of building servers, thanks to all the cloud services offered by most of the cloud providers. In fact, all the main players such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services, have startup programs that grant credits to promising startups to cover all these infrastructure costs during the first two years.
The program we are discussing today in this article is Microsoft Founders Hub for Startups, sponsored by Microsoft, and with a similar goal as those other programs offered by its competitors. You may be wondering, what is Microsoft Founders Hub for Startups and how can it help my startup on my first days? If you want to learn more about this program, how to apply and its advantages, keep reading this article.
What is Microsoft Founders Hub for Startups?
Microsoft Founders Hub for Startups is a startup program that is offered by Microsoft and provides the eligible Startups with tools and resources, including Azure cloud credits without restrictive timelines. As your startup grows, the number of free Azure credits you receive grows with you, so you can save money and develop at your own pace. The program is designed to provide the right mix of tools, resources, and expert support so a Startup can succeed with Microsoft Azure and other resources while optimizing performance, managing risk, and keeping costs under control.
Every startup that is accepted into the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub is assigned to one of four levels based on your company stage: Ideate, Develop, Grow, Scale, and can access the right amount of credits in each stage.
Program tiers and benefits
Microsoft’s program adapts to the needs that the startup has in each stage. Thus, the benefits vary depending on the stage of your startup. As described earlier, Microsoft provides benefits that scale with you as your business and team scales. Examples of the types of benefits a business can get access to are the following:
– Mentors who are experts in your industry or technology type to help validate your idea
– Azure sponsorship credits that grow with you as your needs increase
– Microsoft 365 productivity tools including Teams for video conferencing, Word, PowerPoint, etc.
– GitHub and Visual Studio Code for developer collaboration
As mentioned before, the program includes different stages where you can access a different level of benefits for your startup.
The different programs in the Microsoft Founders Hub program are the following:
- Ideate: This phase is ideal for startups that are in the ideation stage, very early in the startup process. In this phase, you can get up to 1 thousand dollars in credits.
- Develop: This phase is ideal for startups that are beyond in the ideation stage, and they have already started building the product or first prototype or MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of the platform. In this phase the business can get up to 5 thousand dollars in credits.
- Grow: This phase is ideal for startups or companies that have already left behind all the ideation, development and testing phase and are more focused on adding new functionalities and features to the platform. In this phase, you can get up to 25 thousand dollars in credits.
- Scale: This phase is for companies that are already running and operating nicely, they are growing and already have or are very close to have product market fit. In this last stage of the program the companies can get up to 150 thousand dollars in credits.
To access all the different services, credits and advantages of each stage, you just need to apply once, and you can switch or move into the next stages of the program as the business scales and requires more services and benefits. With just one application, you can navigate through the whole Microsoft Funders Hub for startups program.
The Microsoft credits can be used for a wide variety of services which include infrastructure technologies like Microsoft Azure cloud services. But in addition to cloud, the company can also get access to other business tools such as Microsoft 365, which includes cloud tools such as Microsoft Teams to interact and video chat with your team, Outlook, to get access to email communication, and the typical tools such as Microsoft word, power point, etc. All these tools are also on the cloud so different teammates can access the tools simultaneously from different parts of the world and edit live their changes, without needing to save and share multiple copies or versions of a document and avoiding the typical version control problems.
How to apply?
Applying for Microsoft Founders Hub for startups is a very simple process, the application takes no more than 10 minutes, however, the process in this case is slightly different. All the process is run through a Linkedin account. Thus, in order to apply for the program you will be required to sign up to your Linkedin profile account and this will be the account running the application. This helps Microsoft to verify your identity very quickly and also review the profiles very easily. For that reason, it is key to have a complete and up to date Linkedin profile.
Once you start the process signing up as described immediately above, you will be required to fill in a form or questionnaire, in which you are asked several questions about the company, provide a description, provide funding information, investors information etc.
Also, another differentiation of this program from the others run by Amazon or Google is that Microsoft also requires a short video (10 mins maximum), where you run them through the website and the Minimum Viable Version of the product. For this you can use tools like Vimeo or Loom, that you can use to record live your screen, while your video camara is recording you live too.
Once the application process is completed, you just need to wait some days for the application to be processed. Microsoft will process the applications in the order they are received but normally is a fast process. It usually takes seven to ten business days for your application to be reviewed, and approved or declined in each corresponding case.
Another differentiation of this program, is that they are not partnered with Venture Capital funds or accelerators, thus, there are no other ways to apply to the program through entrepreneurship programs like for example Amazon Web Services does. YCombinator for example, the number 1 accelerator in the world, based in San Francisco, doesn’t offer among its perks applying to Microsoft Funders Hub. Perhaps in the future they might include it, but at least for now it is not available.
Once accepted, you have access to the Microsoft Founders Hub portal were you can manage all your subcriptions in one place, claim your credits etc. You can also invite your teammates to the platform so that any body in the team can manage all the benefits of being part of the platform.
Snab, invoice management software
Snab, as an emerging company, was also accepted as part of the Microsoft Founders Hub program for startups, and the program is helping us to achieve our goals by allowing us to use services such as Microsoft 365, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Github amongst others. All of them are key programs that we use at Snab so having credits to use these services is great.
Snab is a cloud-based platform, which allows businesses to automate the receipt and record of invoices received, digitizing the process and having a real-time control of all transactions, due to the connection with all bank accounts in addition to giving your business accurate information of all accounts payable/receivable. Request a demo with us