BizSpark: Get free software and cloud services for your startup


Note: if you already know that you want BizSpark, jump straight to the Register section. 

Why?

Microsoft BizSparkBizSpark is a Microsoft program to help software startups at the beginning when money may be tight.  You can utilize it for a maximum of 3 years, but afterwards BizSpark Alumni can keep, at no charge, all the software they downloaded during their three years in the program, including a standard configuration of Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server.  If you wish to purchase after your 3 years in the program, special BizSpark Alumni discounts are available.  Microsoft does not take equity in your startup. 

BizSpark provides:

* Software: You get access to a ridiculous amount of Microsoft software (a Visual Studio Ultimate MSDN subscription, which includes 900+ current, full-featured software development tools, platform technologies, and server products to build software applications).  This includes Windows, Office, Visual Studio, SQL Server, etc.  For the most up to date listing of products, click products by benefit level and then click Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN tab for a representative list of products.

* Cloud services: you receive $150 of free monthly Microsoft Azure benefits.  Run your services in the cloud (Azure supports running Linux virtual machines as well as Windows).  If you are building Windows, iPhone, or Android apps, take advantage of Windows Azure Mobile Services, which provides cloud storage space, authentication services (with built-in support for using Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft Account/LiveID, and Active Directory credentials as well as custom auth using JWT), and push notifications (with support for Windows Push Notifications, Apple Push Notifications, or Google Cloud Messaging). 

* Support: access to investors, advisors, and valuable offers to help run their businesses, find talent, and obtain financing. Startups also get access to technical, product and business training and support.

* Free access to the Windows Stores

* Free promotion to the global BizSpark community

* Do you participate in DVLUP?  You can earn points in this BizSpark challenge: https://aka.ms/BizSparkDVLUP

Register

To be eligible, you must meet these criteria:

  • Actively engaged in development of a software-based app, product, or service that will form a core piece of your current or intended business.  (NOTE: you must be building a product!  Startups providing consulting services are not eligible.)
  • Your company is privately held, and in business for less than 5 years.
  • Makes less than US $1 million in annual revenue

If you meet all of the criteria, follow this link to register using a code that will fast-track your application:

http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/Register.aspx?SecurityCode=ak9FanC7rb

NOTE: This code will expire on July 1, 2014. 

(Update: Apparently this blog post was linked to from an MSDN Flash newsletter that was sent out on July 1, right when the code expires.  Therefore, I’ve generated a new code; this one will expire on Dec 27, 2014: http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/Register.aspx?SecurityCode=gLCrLaQREv

It also helps if you already have a company domain and email address, and use those during your registration. 

If any step of the registration process is confusing, my teammate Bret created a BizSpark enrollment tutorial

Help!

Here are some great resources to help you:

Also, if you are a startup that doesn’t have a public-facing company name or website yet, please contact me directly. 

Comments (16)

  1. Chewbacca says:

    If a startup decides to cancel say on their third year even after renewing, do they owe anything at all?

  2. jennmar says:

    @Chewbacca No.  There used to be a $100 exit fee (after 3 years of free software, that's not bad at all) but even that is gone.  BizSpark is completely free.  

  3. Stefan Bauer says:

    Great information and collection of resources. Will Office 365 also included in the bizspark program?

  4. Lance says:

    Jennifer,  I found the link to your column here in my MSDN Flash newsletter that was delivered just this morning (July 1) and immediately tried to sign up but the code was already expired.  You need to give a little leeway timewise when publishing in MSDN Flash so that people can read the newsletter and have a change to respond.

  5. Lance says:

    Also, this is a great program for those of us starting a software company.  Thank you Microsoft.

  6. jennmar says:

    @Lance – agreed.  I'm sorry.  There is someone in marketing who puts articles from our blogs into the MSDN Flash, so I didn't actually know that this article was going to be included.  🙂

  7. chall3ng3r says:

    Can you confirm BizSpark includes Office 365 with Exchange. Not really looking to host email on Google or other service, since Outlook discontinued custom domains.

    There should be 5-10 users free license for Office 365 Exchange services. This will help a lot of startups and Office 365 Home subscription should also contain 5 user custom domain for emails.

    // chall3ng3r //

  8. jennmar says:

    Yes, Office 365 is available to startups.  Once registered to BizSpark, sign in using your BizSpark Microsoft account.  You should be able to see your subscription information under “My BizSpark”.  To gain access to your benefits, click on the “My Benefits” link.  It will open up a list of offers made available; scroll down to O365 and click on “How do I get it” then My Account.  Office 365 is a one-year free trial that is offered as a benefit of your subscription.  Once there, click on “Activate Office 365 Developer Subscription” (msdn.microsoft.com/…/office365) and follow the directions for registration. For any issues once on that page, please contact Office 365 support at (800) 865-9408.

  9. Ralph says:

    Hi Jenn, how many activations are allowed per bizspark msdn/retail key?  is it as it has always been?  10 activations (25 over the phone)?  or is it only 5 now?  thanks

  10. Nilson says:

    I tried using the new, updated registration link, but I get an "Invalid Enrollment Code" error. Any idea if there is a new enrollment code?

  11. Brad says:

    It says the 'new' enrolment code has expired? is there a another new one?

    Thanks

  12. Mo says:

    I tried using the new code but it says invalid enrollment code. Please help

  13. Neil says:

    Got message that gLCrLaQREv "Invalid enrollment code."

  14. Mariusz says:

    Invalid enrollment code 🙁

    Could you please provide new one ?

  15. Luis Harvey says:

    I tried leave empty the Enrollment code but it says invalid enrollment code. Any suggestion?

  16. harold says:

    Hey, can you upgrade enrollment key? I want to sign in.

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