Microsoft partners with incubators to provide cloud to startups

Through the BizSpark Plus programme Microsoft is offering $60,000 of cloud services to NZ startups

Microsoft is partnering with business incubators The ICEHOUSE and Creative HQ to provide access to its Azure cloud product to New Zealand startups.

The partnership will let the Auckland and Wellington-based incubators provide startups with access to cloud services worth up to $60,000 across two years, says Microsoft.

The new BizSpark Plus programme is an extension of Microsoft’s BizSpark, which provides startups with software and IT services.

Avancert, an online assessment and examination technology business and Creative HQ alumni, is one of the first two companies to be accepted into BizSpark Plus.

CEO Sean Davidson says the BizSpark Plus programme will help his business cater for a larger user base.

"Being accepted into BizSpark Plus is something we're very proud of," says Avancert CEO Sean Davidson.

"It validates our business as up there with the best and gives us 'on demand' access to technology infrastructure that we can scale up as our business grows."

Nick Egerton, incubation manager at ICEHOUSE says around 20 percent of its incubation clients are in the online sector, and cloud technologies are a priority for them.

Asked if vendor specific programmes such as Microsoft BizSpark would sway startups into using a certain technology framework, Egerton says his clients would need to weigh up the pros and cons of such a decision.

“I’ve had discussions on that topic with our customers. All of them are aware of their options, and this is why we hold workshops with Microsoft to help them make that decision,” says Egerton.

Egerton says other cloud services are not excluded, but ICEHOUSE has a longstanding partnership with Microsoft.

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