When Microsoft Israel announced it was initiating the startup accelerator program, many companies had their suspicions on the real motives of the software giant.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
"There are a lot of people who think that Microsoft is not relevant in the new entrepreneur world, so there is a lot of talk about open source and things that are not on the Microsoft stack or the Microsoft world," says Zack Weisfeld, director of strategy and business at Microsoft Israel.
"Many people don’t see Microsoft as so innovative and so fast, and we think that’s wrong. There is another side to Microsoft, and through this program we actually connect to entrepreneurs all over the world and here in Israel."
Startup entrepreneur and a mentor in the accelerator program, Yanki Margalit, is really proud of the environment that was created for the new companies to flourish.
“When I met the companies and I saw the energy and I saw what they get out of it and I saw the whole eco system and atmosphere around those companies, Microsoft did a great job here," he says. "They created an atmosphere and environment which is almost completely clean of interests and it’s wonderful."
Shefa Weinstein, whose startup Shopetti was one of the chosen ones at the accelerator program, is a rarity as she is an orthodox woman and a mother of four, yet she claims she fit right in.
"Being the only female founder of the 13 companies is a little overwhelming, but there is always a bathroom stall available whenever you need," she jokes.
"I am treated just like everybody else. Nobody gets a day off. Friday in the morning I am cooking, I got my laptop going, my kids are running around, and then Shabbat ends and I go right back at it. But the 25 hours of just silence with my kids on the floor playing games, it makes me a better mom.”
The success of the Israeli program has now encouraged Microsoft to initiate similar accelerators in other countries. And if you believe your startup could be one of the 13 to be picked for the next program, the deadline for submissions is in less than a month.