Microsoft gives Aussie startups a boost to the cloud

SYDNEY, Australia – February 22, 2012: Today, Microsoft announced the launch of its new BizSpark Plus program for business incubators. The enhanced program allows business incubators to offer each of their startups up to $60,000 worth of Microsoft Windows Azure compute and storage services over a 24-month period.

“According to the World Bank, Australia is a world leader for ease of starting a new business. We believe the BizSpark Plus Program will help drive Australian entrepreneurship and innovation further,” said Gianpaolo Carraro, director of Developer Evangelism, Microsoft Australia. “This program will ensure our Australian software startups have access to world class technology during their inception, giving them a better chance of success and in turn creating jobs, wealth and innovation.”

The Microsoft BizSpark program is a global network that helps software startups succeed by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools, connecting them with key industry players, including investors, and providing marketing visibility to help entrepreneurs start a business. Since its inception in 2009, the BizSpark Program has grown to include over 2,300 partners and has helped over 45,000 startups, across 100 countries.

The BizSpark Plus initiative introduces new offers – facilitated through partners – to early-stage startups, the first of which provides up to $60,000 worth of Windows Azure services over two years. This involves one year of fully-subsidised Azure usage and a second year of Azure usage at a discounted rate of 50 per cent. In addition, the startups will be enrolled in BizSpark, which provides them with tools and software to help develop and deploy their solution.

In Australia, a range of investors and incubators have joined the BizSpark Plus program as partners, including: Angel Cube, Blue Chilli, Fishburners, Founders Institute, Push Start, StartPad, Start Mate, Startup Weekend and York Butter Factory.

These BizSpark Plus partners were chosen for their ability to impact the Australian market through their influence in the entrepreneurial community and their proven success with early-stage startups. BizSpark Plus offers are available to startups by invite-only through their relationship with BizSpark Plus partners.

The goal of the BizSpark Plus program is to help startups grow their business by providing access to technology and software that enable startups to focus their time and energy on solving their business challenges and developing their ideas into strong marketable business proposals for investors.

What our partners are saying:

Andrew Birt, Co-founder of AngelCube:

“We provide our entrepreneurs with the best opportunities and offerings such as the Microsoft BizSpark Plus program. With Microsoft’s help and support, the BizSpark Plus Program provides great experiences for our .Net developers. The BizSpark program offers our start-ups the chance to receive $60,000 worth of Microsoft Windows Azure compute and storage. While using Azure, entrepreneurs can scale their ideas and form them into a credible and valid venture in the market.”

Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, founder of Blue Chilli:

“In 2012, we are looking to launch 12 new startups in the Australian market and the BizSpark Plus program will be crucial in the formative stages of some of these new companies. The relationship with Microsoft will allow us to offer our startups valuable support, services and access to technologies such as Windows Azure, giving them the leg up to succeed.”

David Vandenberg, Director of Fishburners:
“We want to develop a sanctuary for entrepreneurs, Microsoft BizSpark Plus allows us to give our entrepreneurs an environment where they can create and develop ideas into marketable businesses that can attract funding and investment when they’re ready for the next step. Microsoft BizSpark Plus is helping our 100+ entrepreneurs realise their business potential by offering support, expertise and technology at this crucial stage in their development.”

Benjamin Ranck, Co-Director for the Founder Institute Sydney Chapter:
“As an investor it’s crucial for us that our startups have the support and flexibility to develop their businesses. Microsoft BizSpark Plus gives our startups access to mentors as well as the back-end cloud platform; Windows Azure, from which their business can be developed and scaled to reach intended audiences. We believe this program gives our startups a unique business proposition and the confidence to pitch to investors.”

Kim Heras, co-founder of PushStart:
“Microsoft has always been a great supporter of the startup community. With the BizSpark Plus program, Microsoft has stepped up and taken it to another level, offering first-rate services and support to our community. Startups are looking to streamline costs where possible and the extra support offered from the BizSpark Plus program, gives our startups the opportunity to tap into Microsoft’s broader network and cloud services.”

David Jones, co-founder of Startmate:
“The BizSpark Plus program is a terrific opportunity for start-ups to get a leg up in the industry. It gives our companies a kick start to using Microsoft technology and accelerate route to market.”

Stuart B Richardson, CEO of York Butter Factory and Adventure Capital:
“The BizSpark Plus program enables York Butter Factory startups to focus their limited financial resources on growing their business, instead spending that money on customer acquisition and quality advice. The Windows Azure platform offers a simple, comprehensive and powerful platform for the creation of Web applications and services.”

Tamantha Stutchbury, Innovation and Business Development Manager, University of Wollongong:
“At StartPad we value above all else is the power and edge that co-location of like minded individuals, coupled with support from high value mentors and cutting edge business tools can provide to our resident companies. We believe that Microsoft BizSpark Plus is a great initiative for entrepreneurs and gives them access to the technology, tools and expertise to develop, engage and effectively compete in the marketplace otherwise not easily accessible to Startups.” For more information about the program, visit

About Microsoft BizSpark: Microsoft BizSpark is a global program that helps software startups succeed. With more than 45,000 startups from 100 countries in the program and a global network of 2,300 BizSpark partners, Microsoft provides great business value to young technology companies around the world. The program provides a wide range of Microsoft technology, technical and business expertise, and enhanced market visibility. BizSpark Plus is an extension of the foundational BizSpark program, providing higher-value offerings through a network of leading regional incubators and accelerators around the world. More information is available at

About Microsoft BizSpark Plus: The BizSpark Plus Program is an extension of the Microsoft BizSpark Program, designed to provide high potential startups with additional offers, products and services from Microsoft, available through select incubators and accelerators. These BizSpark Plus Partners are chosen for their exceptional ability to impact their local markets, their influence in the entrepreneurial community and their proven success with early-stage startups. BizSpark Plus offers are available to leading startups by invite-only through their relationship with BizSpark Plus Partners. More information is available at

About Microsoft: Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential. For more information about Microsoft Australia please visit

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact: Rudolf Wagenaar, Howorth, [email protected], (02) 8281 3879

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