Microsoft launches Pegasus program for startups, awarding as much as $350,000 in credit

Microsoft is extending the Startup Founders Hub, its self-service platform that gives founders with free sources together with Azure credit, with a brand new incubator program known as the Pegasus Program.

Pegasus will choose startups with merchandise that “fill a market want” and provides them as much as $350,000 in Azure, GitHub and LinkedIn credit plus backing from advisors, in addition to “entry to one of the best Microsoft tech,” based on Hans Yang, basic supervisor at Microsoft for Startups.

“Given the present financial local weather, immediately’s launch of Microsoft for Startups Pegasus Program couldn’t be timelier,” Yang, talking to TechCrunch by way of e mail, stated. “In a capital-constrained setting, startups have to exhibit traction and income development. Startups promoting to enterprise corporations are challenged with lengthy gross sales cycles, advanced regulatory necessities, and excessive calls for for scalability and reliability. On the identical time, enterprise corporations know that disruption is coming, however wish to work with startups who can meet their rigorous necessities.”

Pegasus is a two-year program, open to startups already energetic in Microsoft’s Founders Hub and with customer-facing merchandise constructed on the Microsoft Cloud. A core requirement is having early product-market match, Yang careworn, together with income traction, a gross sales workforce in place and a “confirmed” go-to-market mannequin.

“This indicators to us that they’re able to go up market to enterprise prospects,” Yang added. “Our industry-focused consultants, when evaluating potential Pegasus startups, additionally guarantee their options are resolving present {industry} challenges for these sectors. This ensures we offer enterprises with related options that they’ll spend money on to get a short-term return on funding.”

All startups chosen for Pegasus are assigned a vertical result in generate gross sales alternatives and act as an advisor. Additionally they get successful supervisor, who’s chargeable for serving to them go to market and “guarantee they’ve one of the best sources for producing and growing offers.”

Lastly, Pegasus corporations obtain a devoted cloud resolution architect to help their technical success and facilitate “most popular” entry to Azure’s AI choices. These architects function a single level of contact inside Pegasus, serving to startups have interaction with Microsoft prospects and dealing with compliance and safety checks.

Yang famous that, whereas Pegasus inherently favors startups constructed with Azure tech, this system doesn’t lock corporations or companions into a specific cloud. They’re in a position to make use of a number of clouds, together with stalwarts comparable to Google Cloud and Amazon Net Providers, in the event that they so select, so long as they’re assembly their prospects’ wants.

“This system is basically pushed by the wants of enterprise prospects, and whereas lots of our prospects benefit from the synergies of leveraging a number of Microsoft options collectively, we’re targeted on their wants,” Yang stated.

Microsoft Founders Hub

Microsoft’s Founders Hub platform, by which the Pegasus program is facilitated and orchestrated. Picture Credit: Microsoft

There’s no restrict to the variety of startups that may be part of Pegasus, however Yang says that particular consideration can be paid to these in industries like healthcare, AI, retail and cybersecurity. He expressed outsize enthusiasm for generative AI, a very sizzling market in the intervening time.

“Because the AI period takes form, enterprise corporations are searching for methods to embrace generative AI, which presents an amazing alternative for startups who might help them on that journey,” Yang stated. “Broadly, we consider that each startup, whatever the {industry} they serve, needs to be exploring how they incorporate generative AI into their product roadmap.”

In personal preview, Microsoft claims that Pegasus has already supported greater than 100 startups whose common deal dimension exceeded $300,000. In complete, it’s pledged over $35 million to these startups in tech credit.

“We’ve been piloting the Pegasus program to refine the matchmaking course of, working with business-to-business startups each day … to determine enterprise prospects with a selected want for progressive options and join them with the startups that may handle that want,” Yang stated. “We assist get their merchandise and go-to-market plans enterprise-ready, then take them to market alongside our gross sales workforce and on to enterprise patrons. The outcomes have been promising, with Pegasus startups seeing a mean deal dimension of $350,000 and an energetic pipeline of over 1,300 alternatives.”

Pegasus enhances Microsoft’s numerous ongoing early-and late-stage startup efforts, together with partnerships with VCs and accelerators to again 10,000 corporations in Africa over the subsequent 5 years. The tech big additionally maintains the ISV Success Program, a program designed to assist early-stage software program distributors construct and publish apps.

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