Accenture and Microsoft team up to support tech startups in India

18 January 2018 4 min. read

As the startup environment in India continues to thrive, technology giant Microsoft and consulting firm Accenture have become the latest companies to form a strategic alliance to support technology startups. The partnership will focus on business-to-business (B2B) startups in the country.

Rapid evolution in the digital sphere has presented a world of opportunity to new businesses; opening up specialised niches around which small businesses can build and challenge bigger industrial players. In response, major players in the consulting industry are positioning themselves to catch innovation early and be the first to capitalise.

India is a prime example of such a diversely competitive market. Two major trends are characterising the Indian market at present: an increasingly vibrant startup culture, and a rapidly expanding population in the online sphere. Young tech firms in the country, therefore, have a range of possibilities ahead of them, including a sizeable cloud market, a tendency towards blockchain, and a range of fintech options.

Recently, an Indian startup by the name of Tonetag won a major partnership with Infosys, by way of inventing a novel mechanism in the fintech domain that would allow for transactions to be conducted using sound waves, such that payments can be carried out just by placing two phones in close proximity.

Much like Infosys rushed to put its stamp on the new technology, other major international firms are poised to do the same. Two of these firms, which require minimal introduction, are Microsoft and Accenture. The pair already have their respective incubator programs; the former with Microsoft Accelerator, and the latter with Accenture Ventures.

Accenture and Microsoft team up to support tech startups in India

Microsoft Accelerator is an international program, which offers support through both technology enablement and venture funding. The division has worked with 647 companies across the world, with average follow-on funding of $5.2 million. Accenture Ventures similarly partners with startups at the growth stage, which look to create innovative enterprise technologies. 

Now, in an attempt to dominate the Indian tech-startup environment, the two programs will work in tandem as part of a new agreement between the two giants. The partnership involves hosting regular startup summits to scout for ideas as well as talent, and simultaneously gains from government support through the ‘Startup India’ campaign, aimed at funding and supporting the startup arena in India.

B2B technology startups

According to Accenture, the partnership will focus on the B2B startup segment, particularly those which specialise in “artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, virtual reality, blockchain, fintech, big data, security and customer experience solutions,” offering them access to the substantial reach and reputation that the two firms possess on the international front.

Commenting on the move, Managing Director of Microsoft Accelerator, Bala Grisaballa said, “Startups are the centre of innovation, and over the past decade they have played a crucial role in disrupting many industries worldwide. Today, the need is to create a collaborative environment and bring start-ups and corporates together to co-create and co-innovate. Our partnership with Accenture showcases our commitment to connect start-ups with large corporates and help them scale up to become successful businesses.”

Meanwhile, Managing Director at Accenture Ventures in India, Avnish Sabharwal said; “At Accenture Ventures, we believe that an open innovation approach can help enterprises accelerate adoption of ‘The New’, underpinned by innovation and digital. This ecosystem partnership is an example of how we orchestrate the innovation ecosystem and create opportunities for start-ups to grow and scale-up. We are excited about the unique value that Accenture Ventures and Microsoft Accelerator can together create for start-ups and enterprises.”