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Microsoft AI Innovate Does More than Educating India's Startups on AI


About 28 startups joined the unicorn club in India summing up to a total of 66 and together they have the potential to raise revenue of over $ 15 billion, says Nasscom. Fortunately, this makes the country to boast the third largest startup ecosystem in the world holding immense opportunities for business to accelerate innovation across industries.

Besides, scaling one’s business using the latest technologies has become a crucial source of energy for companies to take a step forward reaching their main destination. One of those latest technologies being widely used by companies is AI among others and only about a surface level of its potential has been discovered thus far. What awaits humanity in the universe of AI could take quite some time to dive deep into the technology, but firms for one know that it’s the essence to their success, thereby giving rise to quite a number of AI-based startups.

Therefore, in efforts to promote the country’s AI-based startup ecosystem, tech behemoth Microsoft has devised a program to nurture and scale startups that specialize in AI and this program is called Microsoft AI Innovate.

10 Weeks to Master the Way of AI
The 10 week program will direct startups in India on how they can leverage their business operations, drive innovation and develop industry experience using the power of AI. B2B and B2C startups belonging to various industries from financial services, healthcare, education, agriculture, space, manufacturing and logistics, retail to e-commerce are welcomed to apply for the intuitive lessons.

This program will set sail starting November this year and will be supported by TiE Mumbai. Through this program Microsoft ensures to provide startups with technology and business opportunities to help them improve their solutions, transform their organizations, and create ethically such that AI is available to everyone.

With the help of Microsoft's sales and partner networks, startups will be able to reach out to new clients and locations. Industry deep-dive sessions and AI masterclasses by industry experts, mentoring by unicorn founders, skilling and certification opportunities, and other benefits will be available to the selected firms in each cohort.

"AI is increasingly at the heart of digital transformation, and Microsoft is heavily involved in assisting businesses in this regard. Startups are the future signal generators for all of us”, expresses Microsoft India president Anant Maheshwari.

Anant further adds that, “our mission is to assist every company in every industry in translating meaningful innovation into concrete outcomes. Supporting the ecosystem with the correct programs, tools, and scaling is critical”.

"India has the world's third-largest AI startup ecosystem. By 2025, AI deployment might boost the Indian economy by more than $90 billion”, remarks Anant.

The program will bring together cutting-edge tech know-how, worldwide GTM alliances, and Microsoft engineering and research specialists to cater to both technical and commercial audiences. It provides a variety of advantages to startups at various levels:

Sangeeta Bavi, director, Startup Ecosystem, Microsoft India says that, “Microsoft's mission is to assist every company, regardless of industry, in translating meaningful innovation into measurable outcomes. Microsoft AI Innovate will offer an engaging platform to equip entrepreneurs with possibilities to build, scale, and change with agility”

Technical enablement benefits will be granted to qualified Seed to Series B firms, including Azure benefits as well as free cloud credits, product engineering support, and unrestricted 24x7 technical support, among other things. They will also get help with things like marketplace onboarding and business and sales acceleration.

Startups with enterprise-ready solutions will be given the opportunity to work with a dedicated team of professionals to develop their ideas. By receiving go-to-market assistance as well as co-selling opportunities through Microsoft's sales team and partner ecosystem, startups will also have access to key partner and customer events, allowing them to expand their network.

On the fly these enterprise-ready startups will be assisted in imagining their solutions with industry experts, future-proofing their technology with committed personnel, and increasing production with experienced partners.

Microsoft AI Innovate intends to bring startups, corporations, industry organizations, governments, and venture capital companies together to establish a shared learning and innovation platform.

In the words of Singhal of Nexus, “In terms of go-to-market, Microsoft has played a very key role with a number of our firms, and I think there will be more of those. So it's not just about the technology, but also about having a good grasp of our clients' needs”.

India's Unicorn Startups Worth $ 168 Billion
According to a research by the Hurun Research Institute, India's unicorns are worth $168 billion at current prices, which is more than Telangana's GDP.

Complicated norms and restrictions, according to the research, are driving startups to pack their bags to leave India in search of better treatment in other nations. It's worth mentioning that, in recent years, the Indian government has made significant efforts to enhance the startup ecosystem with marquee projects such as 'Startup India.'

According to Anas Rahman Junaid, MD and lead researcher of Hurun India, the number of future unicorns referred to as ‘gazelles’ and ‘cheetahs’ is expanding at an unprecedented rate in India.

Secondly, the shift to unicorn status may occur quickly, as seen by five 'cheetahs' that joined the unicorn club within the last eight months, according to the report, which also estimates that future unicorns will be worth $36 billion.

Therefore, Sangeeta Bavi, director, Startup Ecosystem, Microsoft India says that, “Microsoft's mission is to assist every company, regardless of industry, in translating meaningful innovation into measurable outcomes. Microsoft AI Innovate will offer an engaging platform to equip entrepreneurs with possibilities to build, scale, and change with agility”.

Sangeeta adds that, “we're devoted to providing professional counsel and best-in-class tech resources to help every company develop their approach to the responsible use of AI”.

From accepting Inmobi as the first unicorn startup in 2012 to the present, India's unicorn startup journey has come a long way, with over 35 unicorn startups, all of which have experienced their ups and downs.

However, it is these difficult circumstances that have encouraged the growth of digital transformation. Several firms have rushed to gain a foothold in the industry, only to tragically fail and close their doors. In India, however, the number of unicorns has surged substantially.
It's probable that this is due to significant improvements in infrastructure, financing, and the business environment in general.

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