Microsoft commits $500 million to rebranded startups program

Microsoft is rebranding its startups program and investing $500 million in it over the next two years.

Microsoft is giving its support program for startups a facelift, rebranding it Wednesday as Microsoft for Startups and bringing a few separate initiatives under one umbrella.

The company will commit $500 million to the program over the next two years, largely by offering resources such as Azure credits and sales support to startups.

Microsoft for Startups will replace the BizSpark program, which encouraged startups to build on its Azure cloud computing platform by offering some free services to growing companies. The new program works similarly, offering up to $120,000 in Azure services to qualified companies.

But the newest iteration focuses mostly on pairing startups with Microsoft’s own sales team to help the smaller companies sell their products quickly and grow faster.

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“The program provides dedicated resources to prepare startup marketing and sales teams to effectively sell their cloud solutions to enterprise organizations in partnership with Microsoft’s global sales organization and partner ecosystem,” Charlotte Yarkoni, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of growth and ecosystems, wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

The benefit of the program for Microsoft is that startups grow up using its services,  boosting the Redmond company’s own products, specifically in cloud computing.

As part of the new startups program, which is overseen by Yarkoni, the company’s accelerator program for startups will be renamed Microsoft ScaleUp.

Microsoft will also expand its Reactors spaces, which offer physical spaces for tech events. Reactors are already set up in Redmond, Seattle, San Francisco and New York and will expand to six international cities in the next month.

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