Microsoft Corp launches a new fund to cultivate companies with solutions that bring affordable Internet access to undeserved markets. The fund is part of the Microsoft Affordable Access Initiative, which invests in new last-mile access technologies, cloud-based services and applications, and business models that can reduce the cost of Internet access and help more people get online.
The technology solution must:
• Leverage low-cost forms of Internet connectivity
• Demonstrate innovative approaches to selling cloud services geared for underserved markets
• Integrate localized payment platforms and consumption models designed for customers in relevant markets
“Today there are approximately 4 billion people globally without Internet access,”
“The ability to close that gap is more achievable than ever with technology that is readily available and affordable in many parts of the world. Through this fund, we hope to kick-start the entrepreneurial process by identifying promising ideas that we can help nurture, grow and scale.”
- Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft.
• Applicants must be a commercial organization with two or more full-time employees (we will not accept applications from non-profits, government agencies, or academic institutions)
• Have a working solution and preferably paying customers
• Prove potential to scale to new markets and leverage partner distribution models
• Provide valid copies of licenses and authorizations
• Present a business plan free of legal and regulatory impediments
A list of criteria, and the application, can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/affordable-access-initiative/home.
Applications will be accepted until midnight on January 15, 2016. In addition to receiving on average approximately $75,000 in funding and free software and services, recipients will also have the opportunity to participate in a program offered by Microsoft to connect with other grant recipients and potential funders.