SINGAPORE, 21 NOVEMBER 2008 Software giant Microsoft has announced plans to give Singapore technology start-ups a boost, with the launch of a new programme named BizSpark.
The BizSpark initiative, which lists various government agencies, venture capitalists, incubators and web-hosters as partners, will see Microsoft providing a host of its development software for free, over a three-year period, to approved technology start-ups that focus on software-based products or services.
Software which Microsoft will provide for the start-ups includes: Expression Studio, Visual Studio Team Systems, MS Developer Network, Team Foundation Server, Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Systems Center, BizTalk Server, Live Services, Live Workspace and the yet to be released Windows Azure Services platform. Windows Azure is a cloud-based operating system currently being developed by Microsoft.
Start-ups seeking admission to the programme need to be private companies with less than US$1 million (S$1.53 million) in annual revenue, that have been operating for less than three years.
These companies will have to re-enroll annually in the programme during its three-year duration. Registration and re-enrolment is free, but companies who drop out will be subject to a US$100 (S$153) fee.
BizSpark currently has 12 start-ups enrolled, and Jessica Tan, managing director, Microsoft Singapore, announced a target of 150 participants within the next year.
The 12 companies which Microsoft has signed-on are: ShowNearby, GameMo, Visual Factory, FoneMesh, MyWobile, Hibernater, AdPrimus Technologies, Homespace, CEOlution, Versonic, Clicking-House and Phlook. These start-ups offer a range of products such as location-based services, Web portals and mobile applications.
Venture capitalists, incubators and web-hosters involved in BizSpark include Azione Capital, Thymos Capital, Frontedge Capital, Business Angel Network of South East Asia, Expara, Extream Ventures, iAXIL, Upstream Ventures, NUS Entrepreneurship Centre, Aksaas and Webvisions.
Microsoft also provides what John Fernandes, director, developer and platform evangelism, Microsoft Singapore, terms a matchmaking service, where start-ups can be directed to suitable venture capitalists based upon their business model.
Start-ups that wish to take their business online will also be able to make use of discounted hosting services offered by BizSpark's hosting partners worldwide.
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