Microsoft strengthens support for startups in India with two new initiatives

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Microsoft AI Innovate to launch cohort for core AI startups

Hackathon for startups to address business, sustainability and societal challenges

New Delhi, April 20, 2022: Committing to empower startups’ ambitions from idea to unicorn in the country, Microsoft India unveiled two new initiatives that will help entrepreneurs and their organizations innovate and grow. Curated for AI startups, Microsoft AI Innovate will be introducing its second cohort, and a hackathon for startups will provide resources and support to developers for creating digital solutions that empower business innovation, social entrepreneurship, and sustainability.

Microsoft AI Innovate Season Two: Aiming to nurture and scale startups in the country, Microsoft AI Innovate’s second season is inviting nominations from SaaS startups whose core applications or services are built using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. Supported by SaaS Insider, the initiative is designed to help startups scale their operations, drive greater innovation, and build industry expertise. Across the 10 weeks of the program, startups get to partner closely with Microsoft’s engineering and product teams to build their core AI models. In addition, there are opportunities to work on relevant scenarios with Microsoft’s industry, research and engineering experts and receive mentorship, along with future-proofing entire teams by getting skilled on technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

Selected startups receive OpenAI preview and credits, access to industry and technology deep-dive sessions and AI masterclasses by experts, mentoring by startup founders and renowned industry leaders, skilling and certification opportunities, among other benefits. Catering to both technical and business audiences, the program brings together tech know-how, global GTM partnerships and engineering expertise. The debut cohorts of 16 startups from fintech, manufacturing and logistics sectors graduated last month after weeks of immersive engagement with leaders, industry experts and subject matter specialists (see appendix for graduated startup details).

Code Titans Hackathon: Presented in association with TechGig, the hackathon for startups invites teams to turn their ideas into prototypes that are built on Microsoft Azure. Designed to solve challenges around business innovation, social entrepreneurship and sustainability, the solutions can leverage the best-in-class tools, languages and open-source frameworks that offer flexibility, collaboration, and security of the trusted cloud platform.

Participating in the hackathon provides startups an opportunity to learn from Azure masterclasses and hands-on training sessions on key technologies like Serverless, Kubernetes, Data Fundamentals, Java & .NET, Github and Azure AI & ML, among others. The top 100 shortlisted startups will receive US$300 worth of Azure credits as part of the hackathon to build their prototype on Azure. The top three teams will win cash prizes while the top 25 startups are eligible to join the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub program.

“The disruptive vision of startups is catalyzing our country’s innovation engine and we are excited to partner with every startup on this journey. With deepened focus on core AI startups in the second season of Microsoft AI Innovate, we are bringing the best of Microsoft’s AI capabilities in creating the magic with the power of data and AI. The hackathon provides an opportunity for some of the most innovative ideas to come to life on the trusted platform of Microsoft Azure. We are hopeful that both initiatives will help startups build securely and scale faster through the Microsoft ecosystem,” said Sangeeta Bavi, Director, Startup Ecosystem, Microsoft India.

Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub is a new digital and truly inclusive platform for startup founders, offering over US$300,000 worth of benefits and credits, giving startups free access to the technology, tools, and resources they need to build and run their business. Beyond access to technology, the platform empowers entrepreneurs to innovate and grow by connecting them with mentors who will provide them with industry, business, and technical support to guide them through their next business milestones.

Microsoft is also partnering with companies like OpenAI, a global leader in AI research and deployment, that develops AI systems such as GPT-3 and Codex to provide startups with exclusive benefits and discounts. Startups also have access to Microsoft Learn for tailored startup-centric training and a variety of startup and unicorn programs to help them build connections with customers or industry veterans and accelerate their growth.

To apply for Microsoft AI Innovate before May 6, 2022, please click here.

To know more about the hackathon for startups, please click here. Applications open till May 12, 2022.


The startups that have graduated from the first edition of Microsoft AI Innovate include:

  1. Discover Dollar: Helps companies transform source-to-pay functions to discover and capture overpayments and leakages by analyzing negotiations and contracts using AI.
  2. Ensuredit: Empowers end customers and insurance intermediaries with AI-based product platforms for transformational customer experience.
  3. Nupay: Enables enterprises to automate their financial processes and launch fintech solutions leveraging its innovative embedded finance platform.
  4. Faircent: Provides an online platform that allows people in need of loans to get them at a lower cost directly from people who are enabled to invest in such loans and make higher returns.
  5. i3systems: Provides intelligent products for deep automation of highly repetitive and data-intensive processes to help insurers and third-party administrators (TPAs) scale digital operations.
  6. FTcash: Empowers micro-merchants and small businesses with accessible loans and digital loans enabling financial inclusion.
  7. Pentation Analytics: Specializes in analytics, AI, ML, computer vision, including analytics suite, ensemble products for unstructured data, and digital twins, and offers proprietary products and services to enable all layers of the organization.
  8. Recordent: Provides credit and invoice management services that are designed for transparent and better cash-flow management and business expansion.
  9. CargoFL: Enables digitization, automation and optimization of logistics and supply chain functions for any business through its AI-driven cloud-based technology platform.
  10. Deft & Tact: Specializes in creating 3D digital product experiences in mobile, web and AR/VR devices for businesses to increase user engagement of both online and offline customers.
  11. Dimensionless Technologies: Builds intelligent software solutions to automate slow, tedious and inefficient manual processes using text, speech and image analysis-based AI solutions.
  12. Imaginate: Provides 3D enterprise metaverse software for immersive training, support and sales of heavy equipment and processes in digital twins of their real-world facilities, using AR/VR technologies.
  13. LogisticsNow: Enables data intelligence, procurement and operations through its digital logistics platform while driving sustainability and savings.
  14. Mukunda Foods: Designs and manufactures products that automate the cooking processes for food businesses, enabling restaurants to scale rapidly while maintaining consistency in food quality and customer experience across multiple outlets.
  15. RoadMetrics: Conducts data-driven AI-based automated and objective road assessments for road maintenance and asset management.
  16. Trucknetic: Connects shippers with carriers and establishes a tech marketplace that centralizes both frontloads and backloads.

About Microsoft India

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 18,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research, development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Noida and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian startups, businesses, and government organizations.

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