“In my experience, startups today are not after more free credits – instead, they need our help to take their products to international markets. With the ScaleUp program, we intend to do just that and more,” said Hasitha Abeywardena – Country Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka and the Maldives. He said this announcing that Microsoft would be introducing a program to help Sri Lankan startups.
What exactly is Microsoft ScaleUp?
The company describes it as, “The Microsoft ScaleUp program is designed for Series A startups and offers access to sales, marketing, and technical support.” The program is active globally across eight cities and has a vibrant alumnus of 730 startups.
With it arriving in Sri Lanka, the program would now be active in nine locations. In fact, Sri Lanka is set to be one of the first countries in the SAARC and Middle Eastern regions to join the global initiative. So how exactly is it going to work here?
The program will focus on helping accelerate the growth of late-stage B2B startups. This would be through mentoring, streamlined go-to-market activities, and access to technology. The Microsoft ScaleUp program typically lasts six months. During these six months, eligible startups will work with Microsoft leaders, industry experts, and can leverage the company’s global network of partners.
“We have supported and worked with over 200 local startups over the past five years.” – Hasitha Abeywardena
As one would expect from a giant like Microsoft, this network of partners includes famous names. A few notable examples are Y-Combinator and Techstars, which has hosted many Startup Weekends in Sri Lanka.
Which Sri Lankan startups were accepted?
Last month, Lathika Pai – Microsoft for Startups’ Country Head for MENA & SAARC, briefed the most promising local startups. Among these startups, a few familiar names we found were: Alakazam, Maturify, Park and Pay, SIXER VIDEO, Linear Squared, PickMe, Blue Lotus, Nimbus Ventures and Enhanzer.
“These startups will have access our global team, which aims to foster peer support and networking while our co-selling resources will help them tap into global markets,” said Lakitha. Hasitha also added that the company has been actively working with local startups. He shared that in the past five years Microsoft has worked with over 200 local startups.
There’s still no confirmed date as to when the program would begin. We still don’t know the names of the Sri Lankan startups that’d be accepted into the program either. Nonetheless, the arrival of the Microsoft ScaleUp program offers a promising platform to startups that are looking at going global. Of course, whether this will result in a global Sri Lankan unicorn is something we can only confirm in time.