What are the eligibility criteria to apply for Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub?
Our eligibility criteria is as follows:
1. You must be engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of your current or intended business - this software must be owned, not licensed.
2. Your Startup has not already received more than a total of $10,000 in free Azure.
3. Your headquarters must reside in the countries covered by our Azure global infrastructure.
4. Your startup has not gone through a Series D or later funding round.
5. Your startup must be privately held.
6. Your startup must be a for-profit business.
7. Your startup is not an educational institution, government entity, personal blog, dev shop, consultancy, agency, bitcoin or cryptomining company.
How do I apply?
Founders can apply directly from our website at startups.microsoft.com! We look forward to hearing from you and are excited to review your application.
We were in the BizSpark program. Can we apply to Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub?
If you have participated in other Microsoft programs, such as BizSpark or Students and have been granted free credit offerings in the past, we will need to confirm that your business has not already received more than a total of $10,000 in free Azure. If your business has not received Azure credits in the past, you are eligible to apply.
If our application gets declined, can we reapply and how soon?
Our team reviews every application and evaluates how well each company meets the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub eligibility requirements. You may reapply when you feel your startup better fits the guidelines. For security purposes, we prevent recently declined applications from reapplying for 14 days after being declined. Once the 14 days have passed, a founder who was previously declined can reapply through foundershub.startups.microsoft.com.
I have an EA or CSP account. Can I still apply?
Microsoft customers on an Enterprise Agreement (EA) or CSP agreement type should note that Azure Credits can not be applied to this customer contract type. If accepted into the program any Azure credits granted must be put into a new Azure subscription, and cannot be allocated to the Azure subscription associated to your current contract.
I have an MCA account. Can I still apply?
Yes, startups on a contract type of "Modern Commerce Agreement" can apply to Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub. If accepted, we can not apply the Azure sponsorship credits to your current Azure subscription. Azure credits will need to be applied to a new Azure subscription.
What if my Startup is not incorporated yet, and self-funded? Can I still apply?
We love bootstrapped startups and would love to consider you. Please apply so we can get to know more about you and your business idea!
How can I apply for investment from M12?
The M12 team and its initiatives and investments (https://m12.vc/about) are operated independently from Microsoft for Startups. Microsoft for Startups does often times collaborate with M12, but we are a separate form of startup incubation and do not offer investment.
My application was declined and I'd like to better understand why.
Our team reviews every application and evaluates how well each company meets the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub eligibility guidelines. There are many reasons why we might be unable to approve an application, including:
- The review team was unable to verify some information on the application, such as validating where your business was incorporated (if incorporated), or evidence of a consistent presence of you and/or your business online.
- The application was incomplete or didn’t include enough detail for the review team to make an informed decision.
If you believe your startup meets the criteria and you'd like to provide additional information to be reviewed, please contact us.
I’m a consultancy or small business. Can I apply for this program?
We do not accept consultancies or small businesses to the Founders Hub. We support startups who are looking to leverage Microsoft technology in order to build their core business. A consultant can not apply on behalf of a business founder.
What if we are a non-profit? Can we apply?
Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub users must be for-profit entities. Non-profit entities should visit Microsoft Philanthropies to learn about additional technology access options.
It has been more than 7 business days since I submitted my application for Founders Hub. When can I expect to hear back?
Our typical SLA is 5-7 business days. In exceptional cases, where additional review is needed, this may exceed 7 business days. Please ensure that you have checked the email address connected to your LinkedIn account. That is where we send the email. If you have been accepted, this link should still work for you: Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub. You should be able to click ‘Log in with LinkedIn’ if you don't immediately see the onboarding flow. Once you log in, you should be directed to the onboarding flow.
Why do I need to have a LinkedIn account to apply?
We believe in the power of building your network while building your business, which is why we require all Microsoft for Startups applicants to have a LinkedIn account. If accepted, we will use your LinkedIn profile to help you grow and activate your network. Create a LinkedIn account here.
I can't access my LinkedIn account, but I want to apply.
How to choose your development stage?
Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub is designed to grow with you. When you complete your application, please choose the stage that best describes your startup’s current state. As you continue to develop and expand your company in the future, you will be able to unlock more benefits and features.
You are at the very beginning of your startup journey and are refining your idea and validating your solution by talking to potential users and industry experts. There’s a good chance your idea evolves as you speak to more people, which is completely expected.
You have already gone through some idea validation and are now beginning to build either a wireframe or a prototype to continue user testing. You still may not be certain about moving forward with your product at this stage, and that’s OK!
You know your solution has value and you are jumping into developing a minimally viable product (MVP). Your MVP should be more advanced than your prototype and have enough features planned to make it a functioning solution for potential customers.
MVP in market
You have already launched your MVP product and are focusing on shipping features and winning customers. You should choose this stage if you have developed your product beyond an MVP, but you are still working on acquiring paying customers.
You have a mature product in the market and have traction in the form of paying customers. If you choose this stage, you should feel you have achieved product market fit and are ready to focus on scaling your company.