HomeWinBuzzer NewsAzure AI Credits Up for Grabs: Microsoft Widens Startup Eligibility

Azure AI Credits Up for Grabs: Microsoft Widens Startup Eligibility

Microsoft has opened up its arsenal of AI resources to a wider range of promising startups through a revamped Founders Hub program.

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has expanded its support for startup companies through an enhancement of the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub program. Initially, the program focused on offering free Azure artificial intelligence (AI) resources exclusively to startups connected with Y Combinator and M12, Microsoft's own venture capital arm. Now, a broader category of startup developers stand to gain from Azure's powerful AI capabilities as Microsoft extends these benefits to a range of other incubation organizations.

In 2021, the  for Startups Founders Hub made its debut in a limited preview. The goal of the platform is to provide solutions to help startups grow. Microsoft says it has taken feedback from entrepreneurs and is now launching Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub in wide release. In March 2022, the service became generally available

Eligibility and Benefits

To qualify for the Founders Hub program, startups must be engaged in creating a software-based product or service, hold private and for-profit status, not have exceeded Series D funding or be privately funded, and must not have received over $10,000 in Azure credits previously.

Eligible startups receive up to $150,000 in Azure credits applicable towards Azure AI Studio. However, not every participant will automatically receive the maximum amount. The distribution of Azure credits is determined by a tiered benefits structure, encompassing four distinct levels – Ideate, Develop, Grow, and Scale.

It is at the Scale level where startups may be able to secure the highest amount of credits offered. Additionally, the program offers tooling support, specialized virtual machine clusters suited for graphics processing, AI models available as a service, and opportunities for personalized consultations with experts.

Expansion and Future Prospects

The Founders Hub program now includes incubators like the AI Grant Fund, Alchemist Accelerator, Conviction, The House Fund, the Open AI Startup Fund, Neo and investments with AI investor Elad Gil. By forging these new , Microsoft aims to foster innovation and support startups at critical stages of their development.

By accessing these resources, startup companies can more effectively develop and scale AI-driven products and services. The inclusion of tooling support and GPU virtual machine clusters allows these burgeoning companies to leverage sophisticated technologies without incurring prohibitive upfront costs.

As an extension of the Founders Hub, the Microsoft for Startups Pegasus program zeros in on B2B startups with potential to collaborate with key industry players. According to Microsoft, an impressive 75% of Pegasus startups have successfully engaged with Fortune 1000 firms, facilitated by the increased visibility through Azure Marketplace.

The sign-up and further details about the program are available on Microsoft's dedicated webpage, catering to the needs of startups navigating the complex waters of . This expansion signifies Microsoft's ongoing commitment to drive innovation across the tech ecosystem by empowering the next generation of tech entrepreneurs.

SourceMicrosoft
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.