Startup business incubator TechStars has forged a partnership with Microsoft intended to entice certain members of its accelerator programs around the United States to use Azure cloud computing and storage capacity.
The deal is an extension to the Microsoft BizSpark Plus program, which is a broader initiative to provide Microsoft services and technology resources to certain selected startup companies. The motivation: Get small businesses hooked on Microsoft technology early in their business development, and they are likely to stick with that technology as they grow.
The TechStars-Microsoft partnership provides for accelerators in Boston, New York, Seattle, San Antonio, Texas; and Boulder, Colo., access to up to $60,000 worth of Azure capacity for up to 24 months at no cost. Each of these accelerator programs accepts approximately 10 companies per year to develop. The San Antonio one, which got started this month, is explicitly focused on startups hoping to create cloud service business models. (That would make for some nice Microsoft Azure success stories in the future, no?)
After the initial two years, I guess the theory is that these companies would become paying Microsoft business customers.
A similar deal is also now being offered to members of the Global Accelerator Network, according to the press release issued this week about the new relationship.