Steve Ballmer opens Microsoft’s Berlin accelerator – with startup acquisitions in mind

Michelle Kuepper 2013-11-07 1

Amidst the media buzz over who will take over from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the man himself is in Berlin today to open the company’s tech hub and announce the startups in the first batch of the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator.

The tech hub sits prominently on Unter den Linden and includes a customer lounge, events area, meeting rooms, offices for Microsoft staff and an entire floor dedicated to the new startups. High-Tech Gründerfonds and the investors from Seedcamp will also be moving into the centre.

For four months, the startups in the accelerator will work on their business ideas with the IT giant, which will provide mentoring, connections to its network and potential financing at the end of the programme. At the moment, Microsoft has no shares in any of the companies.

Microsoft Ventures’ GM, Rahul Sood, said that they hope to evolve the ecosystem rapidly by improving the deal-flow in Berlin – the company wants to invest in and potentially buy the startups that come through its programme. The team at Microsoft Ventures have a pretty lofty goal: working to become the “best accelerator in Europe” in the near future.

The nine startups

  • Attaching.it – Secure file transferring service
  • Babbo – A magazine, video and music recommendation service that’s individually tailored
  • Cringle – A mobile solution to repay friends quickly using your existing bank accounts
  • EvoMob – Platform to easily convert online shops to mobile shops
  • Makeapoint – A combination of video-calling and discussion boards to facilitate online debates
  • MyLorry – Connecting customers with couriers, including a booking and paying service
  • Researchcluster – Providing researchers with access to equipment and knowledge, plus a network
  • Sensorberg – Enables apps to interact with places by using iBeacon Data Infrastructure
  • UnlockYourBrain – An app that makes you complete learning tasks to unlock your phone

The company claims the startups were selected from a pool of 300 applicants in the areas of software, cloud, internet and mobile. The programme will begin on 11 November this year.

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