Note: if you already know that you want BizSpark, jump straight to the Register section.
BizSpark 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.
* 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
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:
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.
Here are some great resources to help you:
- Official BizSpark FAQ: http://www.microsoft.com/BizSpark/faqs.aspx
- FAQ and weekly chat on Twitter: https://aka.ms/BizSparkChat
- BizSpark enrollment tutorial: http://bretstateham.com/bizspark-enrollment-tutorial/
Also, if you are a startup that doesn’t have a public-facing company name or website yet, please contact me directly.