Tech giant announces Australian start-up hub

Microsoft yesterday announced that Sydney will join the likes of Seattle, Beijing, Berlin, and London in becoming the location of the eighth Microsoft ScaleUp program, the tech giant’s program for technology start-ups.

The program will take up residence in the state of the art Sydney Startup Hub which has been officially opened by the NSW Premier, the honourable Gladys Berejiklian.

Commenting on the announcement, Microsoft Australia Managing Director, Steven Worrall said, “This is a resounding acknowledgement of both the quality and potential of Australian tech start-ups and entrepreneurs.

“It is also recognition of the important role Governments across Australia continue to play in fostering a strong start-up ecosystem and providing the infrastructure, such as the Sydney Startup Hub, to support and grow the next generation of Australian tech businesses.

“Our aim is to be the ‘glue’ that connects the start-up ecosystem in Australia. Being part of the Sydney Startup Hub enables us to realise that ambition. For any business to succeed it needs strong local and global connections and we believe Microsoft can help a startup be global from the outset.”

Microsoft also recently announced that Sydney-based Annie Parker (formerly the CEO of Fishburners and co-founder of muru-D) has been appointed to lead their start-up programs globally, including Microsoft ScaleUp.

The ScaleUp program helps fast-track each stage of the journey for a start-up business and is a proven method for getting a start-up off the ground. For entrepreneurs who are often trying to solve a problem in an unproven way, having access to expert guidance can help expediate processes from years to just weeks. The Microsoft ScaleUp program typically runs for four months and is focuses on both business and technical development.

In the five years the programs have been running, close to 730 companies have graduated from the program and raised almost US$3 billion in venture capital with 48 exits – where the company is bought out or acquired by another company.

In addition to running the ScaleUp program, Microsoft will be an active tenant of the Sydney Startup Hub bringing its global expertise to sparking and supporting local NSW start-up ecosystems. It will do this by running events, hackathons, investor pitch opportunities, CEO sessions, and a range of activities that will be open to the start-up community through the Sydney Startup Hub.

Successful Sydney born entrepreneur, Tania Yuki – the founder and CEO of social-media indexing company Shareablee – returned from New York to celebrate the announcement. As an alumni of the Microsoft program, Ms Yuki was able to share just what this will mean for other Australian entrepreneurs.

Ms Yuki moved to the US from Sydney a decade ago and founded Shareablee in 2013. Today, the New York based business has around 60 employees, a data dictionary detailing around half a million global companies and platforms that deliver rich insights about the way that consumers interact with brands on social platforms.

“Critically [the ScaleUp program] it provided Shareablee with an entree to Microsoft channel sales, providing connections to Microsoft business partners worldwide. It really accelerated our ability to get in front of those companies and start creating opportunities,” Ms Yuki said.

“Having an organisation like Microsoft plant its flag in Australia is very important. It’s a big testament to the technology and the companies that are emerging in the Australian marketplace.”

The corporation made the decision to locate its latest ScaleUp program in Sydney, where it also has its Australian headquarters, following extensive research and meetings with the Sydney startup ecosystem. It is in the process of recruiting a Managing Director to lead the Sydney ScaleUp program and expects to run its first four-month program before the end of 2018.

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