The BizSpark Guide


What is BizSpark?

BizSpark is a global program that gives tech startups cloud hosting, free software, support and visibility to help them succeed. Over 100,000 startups from 165+ countries have joined BizSpark. This three year program is free of charge and provides

  • $150/month for 3 years in Azure hosting credits
    • With support for Windows & Linux, .NET, Node.js, PHP, Python and much more Azure is the cloud for all startups
  • Scale with the Azure $60,000 offer
    • Accelerate your growth with $5,000 a month for one year of Azure credits when nominated by our partners or Microsoft directly
  • The best tools & software for free
    • Access to thousands of Microsoft products including Visual Studio Ultimate, Office, Windows, and more
  • Devices for dev & test
    • Borrow Windows tablets, laptops, phones and more to help with the development and testing of your apps

Learn more about BizSpark


Who is BizSpark for?

Your startup qualifies for BizSpark if you are:

  • Developing technology, software or apps
  • Less than 5 years old
  • Privately held
  • Making less than one million annually

Learn more about BizSpark


The Azure 60k Offer

If your startup is using $500 or more in cloud hosting and would like Microsoft to cover those costs (up to $5,000 a month for one year) then you need to

Learn more about BizSpark Plus (aka Azure 60k Offer)


What is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure is the cloud for all startups. With support for Windows & Linux Virtual Machines right from the gallery you’ll be up and running in just minutes. Don’t want to manage the server yourself? With Azure Websites & Cloud Services you can easily deploy .NET, Node.js, PHP, Python and Java websites and web apps easily and quickly using Git, GitHub, Visual Studio Online, FTP and more.

Features of Azure

Compute & Networking

  • Virtual Machines, provision Windows and Linux Virtual Machines and applications in minutes
  • Azure RemoteApp, deliver your business applications from the cloud using Remote Desktop Services
  • Cloud Services: create highly available, infinitely scalable cloud applications and APIs
  • Virtual Networks: provision private networks, optionally connect to on-premises datacenters
  • ExpressRoute: dedicated private network fiber connections to Azure
  • Traffic Manager: load balance incoming traffic for high performance and availability

Web & Mobile

  • Websites, deploy and scale .NET, PHP, Node.JS, Python and Java web apps in seconds with Git, GitHub, Visual Studio Online, FTP and more
  • Mobile Services, build and host the backend for any mobile app including iOS, Android, Windows & Web
  • API Management, publish APIs to developers, partners and employees securely and at scale
  • Notification Hubs, scalable mobile push notification engine for quickly sending millions of messages to iOS, Android, Windows, or Kindle devices
  • Event Hubs, Ingest, persist, and process millions of events per second

Data & Analytics

  • SQL Database, managed Relational SQL Database-as-a-service
  • HDInsight, provision managed Hadoop clusters
  • Cache, high throughput, low latency data access to build fast and scalable Azure applications
  • Machine Learning, powerful cloud-based predictive analytics

Storage & Backup

  • Storage, durable, highly available and massively scalable cloud storage
  • Backup, simple and reliable server backup to the cloud

Media & CDN

  • Media Services, encode, store, and stream video and audio at scale
  • CDN, deliver content to end-users through a robust network of global data centers

Learn more about Azure


Signing up for BizSpark

Creating your startups Microsoft Account

The first thing you will need to join BizSpark is a Microsoft Account. What is a Microsoft Account? It’s what you use to sign in to Microsoft devices & services like Outlook, Skype, OneDrive, Office 365 and of course BizSpark.

You may already have a personal account (such as you@outlook.com) however it’s recommended that you create one for your startup so that you don’t run into issues like having to share your password or linking your company to your personal email/One Drive etc.

  1. Navigate to the BizSpark Signup Page
  2. Click “Get a Microsoft Account”
  3. Click “Sign Up Now”
    -
    - TIP: Don’t see a “Sign up Now” option? Simply click “Sign in with a different Microsoft account”
  4. Fill out the required information
    -

Joining BizSpark

  1. First select your preferred language
    -
  2. Now tell us about your startup
    -
    - What is that optional enrollment code? If you attended one of our events, are connected with one of our partners or with us directly you may have been provided with a code that automatically approves your startup for BizSpark.
    - TIP: This information is crucial to getting accepted into BizSpark. Often startups are denied because of missing or unclear information. For more on that see Why you (maybe) got denied from BizSpark.
  3. After agreeing to the EULA & accepting the BizSpark Startup Agreement you will notified of your application within 5 business days.

This is why you (maybe) got denied from BizSpark

Here’s just a few reasons why you may get/got denied from the BizSpark program

Vague Website or no website at all

Your website is one of the primary ways the BizSpark team validates your startup. If it’s not clear what you do and what you are building, you will likely get denied

No company email

So you have a great looking website that clearly tells the story of what you do, but yet you register your company email address with a Hotmail/Outlook/Gmail account. Although that by itself is not a sign that you are doing something shady or anything, but it does raise an eyebrow.

Unclear description

As part of the application process for BizSpark you have to submit a description of your startup. So maybe your website isn’t perfect, or you aren’t yet ready to “open the kimono” publicly. Well now is your chance to really tell the folks at BizSpark what you do! You have 2500 characters, and I suggest you use them wisely.

Not meeting the requirements

You qualify for BizSpark if you are a startup that is
- Developing technology, software or apps
- Less than 5 years old
- Privately held
- Making less than one million annually

You do not qualify for BizSpark if
- Your primary business is consulting
- Your primary business is e-commerce (selling stuff online versus building an e-commerce platform)
- Your primary business is services oriented (think hosting, IT solutions, management etc.)

The waiting game

Now that you’ve submitted your your application you’ll have to wait for it to be reviewed and ultimately approved or denied. Either way you should expect a response to your primary account email within 5 business days. If you have not heard from us or you have any questions feel free to email the BizSpark team.


Congratulations you’ve been accepted to BizSpark, now what?

Setting up & managing your profile visibility

Why not take a few minutes to setup your profile. Start by navigating to the BizSpark Portal and use the wizard on the right to add your startups logo, select your category, add a summary (helps when people are searching for solutions in our field) and more.

Your profile is visible to other BizSpark members by default. You can click View Profile then Manage visibility to change it.

  • Public- Your profile will be available on the BizSpark web site and searchable by anyone
    • We recommend you select this one to increase the visibility of your startup
  • Private - Only Microsoft will be able to see your profile
  • Members Only -Your profile will only be visible to registered BizSpark members

Adding & Removing members

Did you know each developer (up to 4) get all the benefits of BizSpark? The benefits multiply as each developer gets their very own MSDN subscription. This is very handy and allows you, for example, to scale your Azure benefits and use one subscription for your development environment, one for testing, one for production etc. By adding each developer on your team you multiple all the benefits of BizSpark. Need more than 4 developers? You can request an exception through BizSpark Support.

Start by logging into My BizSpark and clicking on Manage

Click Add and fill out the required information

Tips

  • You can only add 4 developers
  • If you add a member it counts even if they do not accept or you later remove them
  • You can request an extension to this by contacting BizSpark Support, be sure to include a business justification for inviting additional members

Accessing your BizSpark benefits

Azure - Activating your cloud benefits

With BizSpark you get $150 a month for 3 years of Azure credits (per developer). To enable and begin using this benefit complete the following

  1. Start by navigating to the BizSpark Portal
  2. Click on “My Benefits
  3. Click on “How do I get it?”
  4. Follow the My Account link
  5. Find “Microsoft Azure”
  6. Click on “Activate Microsoft Azure”
    -

Signing up for Azure

  1. Fill out all required information including your mobile number which Microsoft will use to send you a verification code.
    -
  2. After clicking on “Send text message” and entering the validation code that you received, click “I agree” to the terms and conditions and finally click “Sign Up” to complete the process.
  3. Once complete you will be redirected to the [Azure Portal[] and taken through a guided tutorial of portals interface
    -

Getting started with Azure

There is a lot you can do with Azure but the following are just some of the more common ones and should get you up and running quickly!

Azure is the open cloud for startups, check out what you can do with

Azure Training

Want to learn more about Microsoft Azure? Microsoft Virtual Academy has you covered with courses covering key technical topics, including Azure Virtual Machines, Virtual Networks, Platform as a Service (PaaS) implementations and more.

Click here to see a complete list of Microsoft Azure courses. Not sure where to get started? Try these courses:


MSDN - Getting your software benefits

What kind of software can you get for free with BizSpark? You’ll have access to Visual Studio Ultimate, Windows, SQL Server, Office and way more. Basically almost every Microsoft product available for development and testing!

The best part is all licenses you obtain during your enrollment in BizSpark are perpetual upon graduation, in other words you get to keep what you’ve used.

Accessing your free software is easy, just head over to the MSDN Subscriber Downloads page.

Then select or search for the product you want and select Product Keys to obtain a product key and Download to download the ISO or EXE.


FAQ & Support

For more information check out the BizSpark FAQ and if that fails reach out to BizSpark Support.




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