Microsoft Accelerator Joins Hands with TCS COIN™ at Think Next 2016

Bengaluru, India, June 23, 2015: Microsoft Accelerator in India and TCS Co-Innovation Network (COIN™) have announced a joint initiative to create a platform that provides a boost to the Indian startup ecosystem. Under the collaboration, an open innovation framework will be created to mentor and engage with startups to bring their innovative solutions to market. The announcement was made at Think Next Summer 2016, Microsoft Accelerator’s flagship forum, which brings together thought leaders in technology who are driving transformation via innovation.

“In a little under a year, our #CoInnovate initiative has helped several startups scale up and achieve sustainable business growth by connecting them with large corporates. These include Microsoft’s customers around the world who also become the startups’ customers and partners. The partnership with TCS COIN™ will multiply the number of such opportunities available to startups as they now get access to our combined strength. This augurs well for the ecosystem.” said Ravi Narayan, Global Director, Microsoft Accelerator

 Nagaraj Ijari, Vice President and Global Head – Hi-Tech Industry Solutions Unit, TCS commented, “The partnership between the TCS Co-Innovation Network (COIN™) and Microsoft Accelerator underscores our efforts to engage deeply with the startup ecosystem and underlines our commitment to provide innovative solutions to our diverse customer base. As we enter a new phase of rapid innovation and computing, companies must co-innovate and create strategic partnerships to solve challenging problems for their customers. This partnership will offer participating startups access to the expertise and client-base of both TCS and Microsoft and will create exciting new opportunities to innovate and transform the business landscape.”

Access to markets and customers remains one of the biggest challenges for startups in India. The partnership will provide startups the access to the depth of Microsoft and TCS’ networks and relationships across customers, investors, academia and industry, creating a strong value proposition in the enterprise marketplace. Microsoft Accelerator’s #CoInnovate program and COIN™ by TCS aim to connect startups with corporates – who get access to innovative solutions for their business needs while providing greater market access for the startups.

Highlights from Think Next 2016

The 12 graduating startups from Summer 2016 cohort of Microsoft Accelerator – Altizon, Tarnea, Aureus Analytics, BabyChakra, Reverie, Strides, Locus, Admission Table, Distiman, Calm.io, Yellow Messenger and Report Bee presented themselves to an audience of more than 550 comprising corporates, investors, thought leaders, and Microsoft management who partnered to push the collaborative innovation.  Altizon announced the launch of iProd, a revolutionary IoT based product to empower manufacturers to optimize Productivity & Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) along with Distiman, a mobile app that maximizes profits for mom and pop retailers through on-demand stocking

Microsoft also unveiled an ebookTimeline of Indian Startup Ecosystem which charts the course of the industry from 1960s till date. “The interesting thing about India becoming a startup nation, is that this transformation happened not too long ago, and it happened around us.  We have to thank several organizations, people for their efforts and events which transpired over the last four decades. As one of the citizens of the startup ecosystem in India, we decided to take a bird’s eye of the developments. It took us almost 18 months to get here and the view is breathtaking”, add Ravi Narayan.

Other key moments included –

Think Next Talks – At his keynote address, Nandan Nilekani, Former Chairman of UIDAI spoke about ‘An alternate view of the future: India in the age of technological disruption’. Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation, India addressed the audience on ‘The role of startups in India’s digital transformation journey’.

Think Next Debate – Microsoft also hosted a debate on one of the most critical questions in the startup ecosystem – Revenue-first or Funding-first approach. An impressive panel of speakers from TCS, Inventus Capital, Sequoia Capital, Cipla and CORE Media debated on who needs to take the leap of faith first when it comes to B2B startups – Corporates or VCs.

 Trending Tech: Bots – In this new segment, Microsoft brought together some of the coolest bots startups and experts in the country to drive conversations affecting the future of the businesses through bot solutions.

Think Next Roundtable – The second edition of ‘All India Accelerators & Incubators Meet’ hosted at Think Next brought together 22 ecosystem enablers to deliberate on the state of the startup ecosystem and ways to collaborate to create a deeper impact. The participants included, NUMA, T-Hub, AIM Smart City, Target and GenNext Innovation Hub.

Market Access Programs (MAPs) – As a part of its Market Access Programs (MAPs), Microsoft presented the best-in-business solutions in Healthcare and FinTech space in closed-doors sessions to CXOs from leading corporates.

VC Speed Dating 2.0 – This was another exciting addition to the event where a highly curated set of startups met a selected group of VCs including Matrix Partners, Inventus Capital, IDG Ventures India, Innoven Captial, Kalaari Capital, Unitus Seed Fund.

About Microsoft Accelerator

Microsoft Accelerator is a global initiative to help entrepreneurs build great companies. Working with startups at every stage of maturity, the initiative provides the tools, resources, and expertise startups need to succeed. Visit Microsoft Accelerator at https://www.microsoftaccelerator.com to learn more about how Microsoft is helping the next generation of smart companies take flight.

 About Microsoft India

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 6,500 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research and development and customer services and support, across nine Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Microsoft is committed to touching and transforming lives and businesses in India through technology.

About TCS COIN

TCS enables its clients to maintain market leadership through the COIN™ collaborative innovation ecosystem. TCS COIN™ connects multiple stakeholder groups from the startup ecosystem, academia and industry to jointly address specific innovation challenges. The COIN™ network provides startups with direct access to TCS’ marquee accounts through its sales, marketing and client account teams. TCS COIN™ also enables introductions to affiliated investors like VCs, Angel groups and corporate venture capital. Each year, several start-ups are channeled through the COIN™ pipeline after undergoing rigorous business and technology due-diligence to validate go-to market readiness and product maturity.

Additionally, the TCS COIN™ Accelerator engages startups with customer teams to develop joint proofs-of-concept and rapid-prototyping solutions to solve specific customer problems over a 4-8 week period. COIN™ start-up and accelerator engagements are geographically distributed across locations in USA, Canada, Europe/UK, Australia, Singapore, Israel and India.