by Asavin Wattanajantra

Do you have a start-up vision?

Do you have the determination to turn your dreams into reality?

Do you have an idea so brilliant it burns?

Entrepreneurs throughout the world are working hard towards creating successful tech businesses. At Microsoft we've long recognised that innovation is crucial for global growth, and we've been trying to remove the barriers stopping dreams from becoming reality with programmes like BizSpark, which has been going for nearly five years.

And so we founded Microsoft Venturesto partner with promising start-ups around the world – the sole aim of which is to build great businesses. As part of it, we've created four Accelerators in Tel Aviv, Beijing, Bangalore and Seattle, and another about to open in Berlin. Programmes designed to give start-ups access to the training, tools and resources they need to compress their time to launch from two years to three months.

Today sees us embark on the next stage of our journey in London, a city where the technology start-up scene is growing exponentially, with a melting pot of bright entrepreneurs full of passion and big ideas.

The 12-week London Accelerator

High-potential tech and gaming start-ups in the UK now have the opportunity to applyfor our London Accelerator, a 12-week structured programme, including 1:1 mentoring. Participants will also have access to Microsoft partners and routes-to-market, as well as technical assistance.

Gaming start-ups for example, can benefit from technical expertise, knowledge and publishing access to the Xbox One– as well as to Microsoft studios. We want to make sure every start-up that works with the Accelerator has a continuation plan so they succeed after it ends.

It’s a massive opportunity to light a rocket-fuelled fire under your big idea. It will take place in Shoreditch, and we’re looking for technology and gaming start-ups.

The requirements

Applications for the London Accelerator are open. There are a few requirements you must consider before entering your start-up.

You need to

  • Be at Seed stage , with a big vision
  • Be full timers (serious enough to have quit your day jobs)
  • Be capable of carrying an idea through from inception to launch
  • Have one person with tech knowledge
  • Have coachable founders
  • Be comfortable with testing Microsoft cloud services

You’ll benefit from membership of BizSpark, which is a free and easy-to-join service which gives eligible start-ups three years of free software, support, and visibility as well as a fast track onto BizSpark Plus. This includes developer tools and the training to build apps and scale your business.

A total of 119 companies have already gone through our accelerators around the world, with 85 per cent receiving funding on Demo Day or within six months. Six of the businesses have been acquired. And the programme has been so well regarded by the mentors participating, 95 per cent of them signed on to the next cohort.

Success Stories

Exciting companies have already benefited from expertise and funding. Coming out of an accelerator for Windows Azure in Israel was the Medisafe Project, which created a cloud-synced mobile app for Android and iOS that makes sure patients are taking their medications.

The healthcare app reminds users when it’s time to take their medication, but also sends alerts to family, friends or carers if they happen to miss a dose. It has been a success – since its release in November 2012 it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, with a 4.5 star rating in the Google Play store.

Using Microsoft technology and guided by valuable expertise, the Medisafe creators built the app in the cloud. They used open sourced solutions to sit on Azure – the database and services MongoDB, MySQL and J2EE.

What we offer that other accelerators don’t

The accelerators

· Have access to our global partner ecosystem

· Are well-funded and fully staffed

· Provide a strong curriculum

· Allow participants to join a powerful Global Alumni Network

· Support continuation plans

· Offer acceleration for gaming start-ups and an onramp to XboxOne

And finally, we won’t be asking for equity – this is simply about us helping people and businesses around the world reach their potential.

So if you’re part of a serious start-up with a big idea, we want to hear from you.