From Idea to Unicorn, fueling innovation together
- New platform by Microsoft Korea will support startups in Korea at every stage of their startup journey with access to up to ₩500,000,000 in benefits including technology and tools from Microsoft and partners
- Startups will be able to gain mentorship and skilling opportunities from industry experts and Microsoft Learn
- Microsoft Korea offers noteworthy practical support such as help for recruiting developers and co-working places leveraging the partner ecosystem in Korea
Microsoft Korea today introduced its ‘Microsoft Launcher’ program, a platform designed to empower local startups at every stage of their growth journey.
Microsoft Launcher has been designed specifically for the Korea market and is designed to address the most common challenges startups face in Korea by providing benefits and credits, which are the largest scale among the industry. The platform is open to anyone with an idea in software-based products or services regardless of the founder’s background, location, progress or passion.
Microsoft Launcher follows the unveiling of the global Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub earlier this year, which offers support based on real-world feedback from thousands of entrepreneurs around the world. It’s part of Microsoft’s efforts to create and maintain a healthy and sustainable digital ecosystem where its partners and customers including startups can thrive together and achieve more.
Asia has become one of the most promising regions globally with significant opportunities emerging as transformation accelerates and the digital economy grows. CB Insights reports that Asia was the #1 region for global venture deals in 2021. Asia is also home to three out of the top ten countries leading in the number of unicorns created year on year, including South Korea, China, and India.
“Asia is now the world’s innovation powerhouse, and startups are at the center of it. Korea is strongly emerging as a startup hub in the region, with a fast-growing number of entrepreneurs, and twice the number of unicorns compared to just three years ago. We understand the global ambition of startups and through Microsoft Launcher, we will provide the platform to actively empower Korea’s startup ecosystem with an end-to-end trusted technology stack. This will accelerate the ability of startup to innovate and scale globally.” said Ahmed Mazhari, the President of Microsoft Asia.
Microsoft Launcher offers up to ₩500,000,000 worth of benefits and credits, giving startups free access to the technology, tools, and resources they need to build and run their business. In the case of cloud infrastructure, startups can build their businesses at their own pace with up to ₩200,000,000 ($150,000 USD) worth of Microsoft Azure credits. As usage increases, founders can unlock additional credits over time, depending on stages such as Ideate, Develop, Grow and Scale. The platform also provides one-year free access to powerful development and productivity tools including GitHub, Visual Studio, Power Platform, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and more.
“Korea’s digital innovation and growth are attracting worldwide attention, and Microsoft Korea is thoroughly considering our startup ecosystem to continue enhancing Korea’s role and competitiveness on a global stage,” said Ji Eun Lee, the CEO of Microsoft Korea. “Through Microsoft Launcher, which has been created based on our own unique environment, we will empower promising local startups to create a sustainable ecosystem while overcoming technical or financial barriers.”
Microsoft Launcher provides an opportunity for startups to utilize OpenAI’s GPT-3, one of the most advanced language-based AI models in the world, when they start building new products. Selected startups through an additional request will get ₩1,300,000 ($1,000 USD) worth of OpenAI credits, three free months of an OpenAI API Innovation License, and free consultation with an OpenAI expert.
Beyond access to technology, Microsoft Launcher will empower 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. With Microsoft Learn and other programs, startups can get 1:1 technical advisory session, 24/7 technical assistance, and startup-centric training. Also, they can connect and network with experienced mentors in the Microsoft Mentor Network for access to expert feedback and advice.
Leveraging Microsoft’s partner ecosystem in Korea, Microsoft Launcher offers several noteworthy practical supports. The platform solves startups’ difficulties in recruiting developers by cooperating with ‘Supercoder’, a tech HR platform for developers. Some startups with less than 10 employees will take the chance to move into co-working spaces located in Seoul and Busan, which helps startups reduce the rent burden for the first six months. Moreover, Microsoft Korea will help arrange meetings with global venture capital firms and facilitate pitching opportunities to investors.
The startups that want to participate in Microsoft Launcher can apply through its official website year-round. To learn more about Microsoft launcher, you can check the official website.