Over the last few days you may have heard of Microsoft’s new program for startups, BizSpark. I am now a BizSpark Network Partner, so if you are interested in taking advantage of what Microsoft is offering please contact me at bob.walsh@47hats.com (Please, include the word BizSpark in the subject so I can spot it quicker.)

Before you do so, definitely have a look at the BizSpark FAQ and Portal to see if you/your company qualify.

Here’s the gist on BizSpark:

  • You get development-only licensing for everything from VS Team Studio to Excel for everyone developing in your startup for up to 3 years.
  • You get development and production licenses for up to 3 years for Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint and the other Microsoft servers you might want to use to power your web app.
  • You get an MSDN subscription that lets you into the moderated tech support groups and 2 tech support incidents a year.
  • You pay zip until you quit the program, or hit $1 million a year revenue, or the 3 years is up. Then you pay a disconnect fee of $100.
  • Your company has to be privately held, younger than 3 years, and be making less than $1 million year revenue when you enter the program.
  • You get BizSpark from a BizSpark Network Partner (various VCs, angel networks, user/startup groups and others) or from certain Microsoft employees.
  • BizSpark is global: some adjustments in price conditions in some countries.

I hope in the future Adobe, Apple, Google and Yahoo create similar programs for startups: they can make a huge difference in getting a microISV or startup off the ground.

Something I should make clear re my motivation here. Microsoft is not paying me to do this; in fact I expect it’s going to add to my workload. But what I am really focused on is helping microISVs and startups succeed.

They can be Rails/Mac startups like what I am now, they can be .NET developers chained to a cubicle, they can be any OS, platform, framework or language or combination thereof: it’s all good. That’s why I consult with (and work for) startups and microISVs, do this blog, co-moderate BOS, kicked off The Startup Success Podcast, write books and ebooks and will be launching a productivity web app especially for startups and microISVs (Project X) before year’s end.

Bob Walsh