I’m probably not qualified to be telling you about software for your startup, but I wanted to mention that Microsoft is offering free software to qualified startup companies through its BizSpark Program.
A few weeks ago, I had a chat with Jared Bienz with Microsoft about the BizSpark Program. It was a great chat, but I made the non-techie mistake by telling him that I Googled “BizSpark” to get background information about the program. (At least I didn’t tell him I Googled via my Safari browser on my Mac and that I was talking to him via my iPhone.)
Jared explained that through BizSpark, Microsoft is trying to unite startups with entrepreneurial and technology resources. Thus, if your startup signs up for the BizSpark program, it will get:
-All the software included in the Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team System Team Suite (VSTS) with MSDN® Premium subscription
-Expression® Studio Version 2
-VSTS Team Foundation Server (standard edition)
-Production use rights to host a “software as a service” solution (developed during participation in the BizSpark Program, on any platform) over the Internet, with regard to the lastest versions of Microsoft products including:
Microsoft Windows Server® (all editions up to and including Enterprise)
-Microsoft SQL Server® (all editions)
-Microsoft Office SharePoint® Portal Server
-Microsoft System Center
-Microsoft BizTalk® Server
-Microsoft Dynamics® CRM
(In addition to the core program offering, BizSpark startups will be eligible for other Microsoft offerings, such as
Microsoft Azure™ Services Platform.) Startups may also work with a BizSpark hosting partner to deliver their software as a service solution using the latest Microsoft server products.
-Guidance, resources and mentoring provided by Network Partners, active members of the global software ecosystem who are qualified to provide support and advice to startups
-Access to MSDN Premium: managed newsgroups, online library, online concierge, etc.
-Two technical support Incidents
-Each BizSpark startup will have the opportunity to profile their company in the BizSparkDB, an online Startup directory, hosted on the Microsoft Startup Zone web site. Startups will get exposure to potential investors, partners and customers around the world.
-Opportunity to be highlighted on the BizSparkDB as a featured company and be promoted as BizSpark Company of the Week on the Microsoft Startup Zone website.
To be eligible for the BizSpark program, your startup must be:
1. In the business of software development;
2. Privately held;
3. In business for less than 3 years; and
4. Have less than $1 million in annual revenue.
Also, to use the software for production and deployment of hosted solutions your startup must be developing a new “software as a service” solution (on any platform) to be delivered over the Internet.
To enroll, you must be sponsored by a BizSpark Network Partner. There are many network partners throughout the world.
To find out more about the BizSpark Program, click here.