Microsoft for Startups, MaRS partner to open new space for startups

MaRS Toronto

Microsoft for Startups and MaRS have announced plans to open a new space for startups to receive personalized business and technical training in MaRS’ flagship Discovery District building.

In addition to sponsoring events, Microsoft will have a primary physical space within the MaRS campus.

MaRS and Microsoft will organize quarterly tech showcases, looking at six to eight Canadian startups, along with events that MaRS said will involve leading thinkers within Canada’s niche tech sectors. Microsoft will also sponsor two MaRS Mornings, which are MaRS’ speaker and fireside chat series for the startup community.

Last February, Microsoft invested $500 million into Microsoft for Startups, a program aiming to help accelerators, incubators, VCs and other startup-enabling organizations with marketing and technical support, and includes a co-selling program that allows startups to benefit from Microsoft’s existing sales force (disclosure: Microsoft is a sponsor of BetaKit’s CTO Interview series).

MaRS companies are also now eligible for Microsoft for Startups. Qualified firms can benefit from the program. The program provides Canadian entrepreneurs up to $120,000 in Microsoft Azure cloud credits, as well as technical support and resources provided by Microsoft’s sales team and partners, to help startups sell their cloud solutions.

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Microsoft has partnered with local governments, investors, and startup-enabling organizations including Hub71 in Abu Dhabi and Station-F in Paris. Alongside MaRS’ Microsoft Reactor sites, Microsoft said these spaces will allow the company to engage with Toronto’s startup communities.

In addition to sponsoring events, Microsoft will have a primary physical space within the MaRS campus (which spans over 1.5 million square feet of space in total, in four connected buildings in downtown Toronto). The Microsoft space will be used to host a Microsoft Reactor, one of the company’s developer community hubs. The company said this area will foster opportunities for founders, developers, and business leaders for technical, business, and community events.

Last September, Microsoft Canada announced plans to create a new headquarters in downtown Toronto, and investments totalling $570 million into the company’s Canadian presence. The office is set to open September 2020 on 81 Bay Street, and will comprise 123,000 square feet over four floors. Microsoft has had a headquarters in Canada since 1985, which is currently located in Mississauga.

“We expect that given the pace of technology and the investments we’re making that the Microsoft ecosystem could account for more than 60,000 new jobs by the time its new headquarters opens in two years,” Microsoft for Startups said in a statement.

Disclosure: Microsoft is a sponsor of BetaKit’s CTO Interview series

Image courtesy MaRS Toronto

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast