Asos, along with the startup accelerator Level39 and the government-backed GrowthAccelerator will all be joining Microsoft’s startup programme, which has just graduated 12 startup companies.
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The announcement was made during Microsoft’s investor day in London called The Pitch, where its most recent startup companies pitched their businesses to a room full of investors.
Asos will be joining the application evaluation panel for Microsoft Ventures, which will allow the retailer to identify potential retail startup tech companies to join the accelerator from September. Asos will also participate in the next accelerator programme by mentoring startups which have a focus on retail.
“The retail space is big in London and ripe for disruption,” said Anand Krishnan, general manager, developer and platform group at Microsoft. “How do you take the buying experience and make it come alive with technology?”
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He also said the collaboration with Asos will allow the startup programme to go further into the fashion retail space than before.
Microsoft has also announced it will have a presence in Level39 in Canary Wharf – Europe’s largest incubator space for financial services, retail and future cities startups.
This partnership will allow startups located at Level 39 to have onsite access to Microsoft experts, providing advice in areas such as technology, enterprise sales, finance and product development.
Microsoft will also deliver workshops on cloud, while a parternship between Level 39 and BizSpark Plus Network will give it the ability to offer startups access to £60,000 worth of credits on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
Eric Van der Kleij, head of Level39, said: “Welcoming Microsoft to Level39 is an important step in our ambition to attract some of the biggest technology players to become integrated into the very fabric of the Canary Wharf technology cluster and growth opportunities.”
He also stressed the importance of startups having access to cloud services. Van der Kleij sold his startup company Adeptra for £150m, and joked that if cloud services were available to him at the time he “might have ended up with some of that – it’s an incredibly important thing.”
Applications are now open for the second Microsoft Ventures Accelerator which begins in September.