India, which saw a tremendous growth in the startup space in the last couple of years, is now witnessing a growth in the business-to-business (B2B) tech startups coming up with innovative ideas to deal with local problems, says a top Microsoft executive.
"The Indian startup ecosystem is on a growth trajectory, riding on an innovative fleet of young entrepreneurs who are building products that can help solve real-life issues," said Annie Parker, Global Head of Microsoft for Startups, here.
The Australian startups pioneer who joined Microsoft last year to help scale the company's startup dreams is bullish on India when it comes to innovation in the B2B space led by incredible engineers and technologists.
"We have seen the rise in B2C startups in India and now is the time for more B2B tech solutions with country-specific problem in focus. The local startup community in India is thriving," Parker told IANS on the sidelines of the Microsoft 'Imagine Cup' Asia Regional Finals 2019.
When it comes to finding right a mix of talent for B2B startups, Parker said India has no dearth at all.
"You can't really walk in Bengaluru without bumping into a software engineer," chuckled Parker, adding that there were tremendous growth opportunities in the country.
Regarding Microsoft's startup programme, she said the company can help B2B startups in two key ways.
"The first way we can help is by providing technical support as we have extraordinary engineers all over the world who are leaders in the field.
"The second way we can help is within Microsoft 'ScaleUp' and the startup team more broadly," she informed.
The Microsoft ScaleUp programme (previously known as Microsoft Accelerator) is designed for Series A startups and offers access to sales, marketing and technical support.
It helps enterprise-ready companies gain access to top Microsoft partners and customers, make valuable business connections, and access a strong network of technical knowledge.
Microsoft last month announced its corporate venture fund M12 will invest in Indian startups with a funding size of $2 million to $10 million. Rashmi Gopinath, partner at M12, is leading the fund's investment portfolio in the country.
M12 also announced its first India investment in the healthcare SaaS (software-as-a-service) startup called "Innovaccer".
According to reports, venture capital investments in Indian tech B2B startups have been trending upwards, with over $3.09 billion raised in equity funding across 415 deals in 2018 -- 28 per cent more than $2.41 billion in 2017.
Parker said that eligible startups partake in the immersive programme at Microsoft's eight global locations (including Bengaluru), followed by structured help from a dedicated team of success managers.
"We nurture B2B startups for their customers. Our focus is to support late-stage startups and help them with right set of technical and go-to-market approach so that these can flourish further," said Parker, adding that creating the start-ups of tomorrow will finally lead to having innovative future partners for Microsoft.
(Nishant Arora can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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