Microsoft has teamed up with Backstage Capital and Black & Brown Founders to accelerate startups that are traditionally unrepresented. Over $6 million in sponsorship will be going to startups, as well as free cloud technology and other support.
The idea is to strengthen the diversity in the Microsoft for Startups program and reap the benefits.
“At Microsoft, we're also focused on creating much greater diversity within our startup ecosystem,” said Jeana Jorgensen, general manager of C+E and startup experience at Microsoft. “We fundamentally believe great ideas come from anywhere and have repeatedly found that diversity fuels innovation.”
Fuelling Azure Infrastructure and Conferences
The partner organizations generally empower startups via workshops and conferences, but Microsoft's addition will add a vital monetary aspect. The company will be a premier technology and business partner of Backstage Captial while sponsoring Black & Brown Founders' Project NorthStar.
The 3-day conference is designed to get black and Latina founders the connections they need in the tech world. Launching in Philadephia, PA, it also features panels, mock interviews, and pitches. The base ticket is $199.
Of course, eligible startups will get the usual Microsoft for Startups package, which includes up to $120,000 in Azure credits, technical support, and development tools. There will also be 1:1 office hours available and continuous training and mentorship.
Indirectly, Microsoft has also helped a number of developer-focused startups. According to Business Insider, the company's $7.5 billion GitHub acquisition led to greatly increased confidence from other investors. In July, the company invested $500,000 in Seattle organizations to increase STEM opportunities for people of color.
“These new partnerships are core to our company's mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more and build on several recent investments we've made to promote the success of diversity in startups,” said Jorgensen.