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Think Big partners with Microsoft Ventures

Updated: 2013-09-26T22:33:24Z

By MARK DAVIS

The Kansas City Star

Microsoft is expanding its work with Kansas City’s Think Big Accelerator, which helps newly formed technology companies.

The two already work together, with Microsoft’s BizSpark program to provide mentors, software, connections and other resources to businesses enrolled in Think Big. And Microsoft Ventures on Thursday announced a new partnership with Think Big, expanding startups’ access to Microsoft mentors and resources.

It also provides for a possible investment by Microsoft Ventures in the startups, said Blake Miller, program director for the Think Big Accelerator.

Microsoft Ventures works with startups and entrepreneurs through business accelerators in Seattle, Paris, Tel Aviv, Beijing and Bangalore, India. It is expanding to Berlin, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro.

Its partnership with Think Big is one of a few new relationships with accelerators in the United States, according to Think Big’s announcement.

Think Big takes small equity stakes in the businesses that join its accelerator program. Miller said Microsoft Ventures would evaluate businesses for its own investment in their future.

In addition to seed capital, it offers access to co-working and community space in Kansas City, mentoring, the Microsoft partnership and other resources.

Miller said Think Big made some changes to the accelerator program for its second class.

“In that first class we learned a lot,” Miller said.

Think Big is taking applications for its second class of entrepreneurs. Information is available at www.thinkbigpartners.com.

The second Think Big Accelerator class also will be the first with broader assistance under the Microsoft Ventures partnership.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to mdavis@kcstar.com.

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