Startups and Incubators–are you leaving money on the table?

Coming out of South By SouthWest Interactive and bouncing between the community events and our Incubator program, one thing that struck me was how many Startups know about BizSpark, but aren’t taking full advantage of it.  Many (most?) of the startups I talked with are loving the program, but generally only have their primary technologist registered.  The thing to remember with BizSpark, is that the tools and platform benefits are for ALL your developers and designers!  Not to mention the full company benefits like Azure hours or hosted online meetings, Exchange, and SharePoint.  EACH of your developers and designers can have their own MSDN subscriptions – all you have to do is add them to your company’s BizSpark account.  I’ve heard a couple of people question – why do I want to take the trouble?  I’m covered with what I’ve got now!  Two big reasons.  First – we hope you’re using the software we give you.  We hope you’re using it a LOT.  So we want to make sure you get all the activations that are coming to you – I’ve had several startups come to me and ask “how do I get more keys?”  Well, they had all their devs just using one account.  After we got everyone set up on their BizSpark account, they were both thrilled with the additional options they could explore, and there were no more delays in finding additional keys – everyone had PLENTY!  Second – Startups are fluid.  People join and leave much more rapidly than with larger companies.  So getting each person their own MSDN subscription means that if someone leaves and “leaks” their keys – well just those keys gets deactivated and no one else is bothered. 


So take a second to review your BizSpark enrollment – don’t leave $20K+ of software per developer/designer sitting on the table.  We WANT you to have it and I’ll bet your guys would be thrilled to get their personal access – I expect it’ll be worth the 10 minutes or so to get everyone their own account.


(And if you’re a startup and not signed up to BizSpark, jump on that right away, or just use “Contact Me” on this blog (or leave a comment here) and I’ll make sure we get you fast-tracked!)


With all the startups I talk with these days, I’m still running into some that aren’t aware of BizSpark.  Most of the conversations start with “So why should I join?”  The answer is simple – as a startup, you get the same level of access to our platforms and development tools as the largest companies – but you get them for free (as in beer.)  The only requirements are that your startup be less than 3 years old, have less than $1M in annual revenue, and be privately held, though it helps a LOT if you’ve already registered your domain and sign up with an email on that domain.   When you do that you get an MSDN subscription for each of your developers, production licenses for select servers, Azure hours to help develop your cloud based solution, BPOS (hosted Exchange, SharePoint, Communicator, and Live Meeting), support incidents, and the chance to be spotlighted on sites such as TechCrunch and Mashable.

After we go over that, the next question tends to be “OK, so what’s the catch?  There’s got to be some fine print somewhere in that.”  And the answer is nope.  Zip.  Nada.  When you sign up, the software is yours.  The only bill you would ever get is if you choose to buy additional resources on Azure.  Your software doesn’t expire – and when you graduate from the BizSpark program, either through growth or time, we give you some great deals on keeping the benefits even then.

So why are we doing this?  We want you to have no barriers to evaluate the platforms.  When you’re running a startup, you’re always short on two things, time and money.  We remove the time problem of finding the right licensing configuration and path and we remove the money problem by opening up the vault of software for you to ensure that you’ve got access to whatever components you need to get started.

To join BizSpark, you can sign up at or send me a message through the “Contact me” here on my blog.