Microsoft’s Startup Entrepreneurs Hub, a self-service portal that gives entrepreneurs free Azure credits, is getting a new incubator program, the Pegasus Program.
According to Hans Yang, general manager at Microsoft for businesses, Pegasus will choose businesses with products that “fill a market need” and grant them up to $350,000 in Azure, GitHub, and LinkedIn credits, advisor support, and “access to the best Microsoft tech.”
Yang emailed TechCrunch, “Given the current economic climate, today’s launch of Microsoft for Startups Pegasus Program couldn’t be timelier.” In a capital-constrained climate, companies must show traction and revenue growth. Enterprise startups face long sales cycles, complicated regulatory restrictions, and high scalability and reliability needs. At the same time, enterprise organizations realize disruption is coming yet want to engage with startups that can fulfill their demanding requirements.”
Microsoft Founders Hub businesses with customer-facing solutions developed on the Microsoft Cloud can apply for Pegasus, a two-year program. Yang said that early product-market fit, revenue traction, a sales staff, and a “proven” go-to-market methodology are essential.
Yang continued, “This signals to us that they are ready to go up market to enterprise customers.” “When evaluating Pegasus startups, our industry-focused experts also ensure their solutions are solving current industry challenges for these sectors. This guarantees we supply firms with appropriate solutions they can invest in for a short-term return on investment.”
Vertical leads advise and provide sales possibilities for Pegasus entrepreneurs. They also get a success manager to assist them in going to market and “ensure they have the best resources for generating and developing deals.”
Finally, Pegasus firms get a cloud solution architect to help them succeed technically and get “preferred” Azure AI access. In addition, these architects handle compliance and security assessments and assist startups in communicating with Microsoft customers.
Yang stressed that Pegasus doesn’t tie firms or partners into a cloud, even if it favors Azure-built startups. Instead, they can utilize numerous clouds, including Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, as long as they fulfill their customers’ demands.
Yang added, “Enterprise customers really drive the program, and while many of our customers enjoy the synergies of leveraging multiple Microsoft solutions together, we are focused on their needs.”
Yang said healthcare, AI, retail, and cybersecurity firms would be prioritized for Pegasus. However was enthusiastic about generative AI, a hot market.
Yang stated, “As the AI era takes shape, enterprise companies are looking for ways to embrace generative AI, which presents a tremendous opportunity for startups who can help them on that journey.” “Broadly, we believe that every startup, regardless of industry, should be exploring how they incorporate generative AI into their product roadmap.”
Microsoft says that Pegasus has aided over 100 firms with an average contract size of $300,000 in private preview. As a result, it’s promised $35 million in tech credits to such businesses.
Working with business-to-business entrepreneurs daily, we’ve been piloting the Pegasus program to optimize the pairing process. Yang stated, “to identify enterprise customers with a specific need for innovative solutions and connect them with the startups that can address that need.” “We help get their products and go-to-market plans enterprise-ready, then market them with our sales team and directly to enterprise buyers.” The results have been good, with Pegasus businesses reporting an average transaction size of $350,000 and an active pipeline of over 1,300 opportunities.”
Pegasus supports Microsoft’s early- and late-stage startup activities, including collaborations with VCs and accelerators to fund 10,000 African startups over five years. In addition, the IT giant’s ISV Success Program helps early-stage app developers.