BizSpark: calling all startups



Video: Steve Ballmer announcing BizSpark at the Developer Liberation Day, Thursday 6 November, Sydney, Australia (click here for the official video)

Steve Ballmer announced Microsoft BizSpark during his visit to Australia, following the success of DreamSpark, which allows students to download our developer and design tools at no charge. 

What is a startup to Microsoft? Do I qualify?

There are four pre-requisites for a startup to join BizSpark. These are:

  1. be building a software based product,
  2. have been in existence for less than 3 years,
  3. make less than USD 1 million and,
  4. be privately held.

BizSpark is ideal for companies building Web applications, or delivering Web based services. A startup can be a part of the program for three years (and will have to renew their membership annually), unless they are disqualified because they have gone public (or have been acquired by a company that does not qualify for BizSpark) or if their revenue is greater than USD$1 million.

What kind of software is BizSpark offering?

  • We are offering development tools as well as production licenses of our server products.
  • For development, testing and demonstration, startups can download the software included in the Visual Studio Team System Team Suite (VSTS) with MSDN Premium, plus VSTS Team Foundation Server (Standard Edition).
  • For production use (that is, to deploy and host an application over the internet), startups can download and use Windows Server, SQL Server, BizTalk Server, and Office SharePoint Server for Internet Sites hosting, as well as Systems Center for managing hosting server operations
    (please refer to the BizSpark Startup Program Guide for full details)

"No up-front cost" - do I pay when I leave the program?

Yes, there is a $100 fee when a startup exits the program.

What happens after three years of participation in BizSpark?

After three years in BizSpark, a startup will exit the program. A startup can continue to use the development tools although if updates are required to the development tools however, the MSDN subscription at usual rates and terms. apply.  Or you can join the Microsoft Partner Program and receive complimentary tools as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV).

To continue using the production licenses, a startup may choose to take advantage of a licensing program like Microsoft’s Services Provider License Agreement program (or other Microsoft licensing programs that may be available at the time) but is in no way obligated to do so.

How do I join BizSpark?

Via a BizSpark Network Partner.  This ecosystem will comprise of academic institutions, entrepreneurial organisations, business accelerators and investors who will help startups enrol. Find a Network Partner near you.

How does this help me, a startup?

  • Software - via the program
  • Support - via MSDN (two support incidents per startup) and the resources that the Network Partner has to offer for startups
  • Visibility - via BizSparkDB. Startups can profile themselves on BizSparkDB.

Is Azure going to be a part of the BizSpark offering?

Windows Azure, announced at PDC last week, is a natural platform choice for early stage companies.

While Azure is appealing to everyone from large enterprises to hobbyists, it is going to be particularly interesting to startups and Web 2.0 companies as well who want to take advantage of a rich, highly versatile web-based platform to build scalable applications for the web.

BizSpark program startups will receive preferential access to the Azure Community Technology Preview. To sign up for the CTP, BizSpark participants should enrol on the Azure site and profile with the same Windows Live ID they used to enrol in BizSpark. During the CTP, access will be assessed and assigned on a company-by-company basis and will be confirmed as capacity becomes available.

Where does Empower or Action Pack for Web Developers fit?

Click here to download this image as a pdf. Some information is specific to Australia only.


Where can I get more information?

or and the blogs from that page, like Anand Iyer's.

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