As someone who’s passionate about technology startups and genuinely loves that he gets to work closely with them as a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft Canada I’m thrilled to share with you all a new relationship between Microsoft Ventures and 3 of Canada’s leading startup hubs Launch Academy in Vancouver, Notman House in Montreal & MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

Microsoft Ventures

What is Microsoft Ventures you ask? The team describes it as “a strategic partner for promising startups around the world focused on business growth & customer development, industrial strength technology and beautiful usable products. We’re especially keen to partner with proven young B2B startups looking to leverage our global routes to market”. To me it’s absolutely that, but also an amalgamation of a number of efforts from Microsoft in the startup ecosystem into one cohesive and truly awesome program, one that’s only getting better.

BizSpark Is At the Core of Microsoft Ventures

Although Microsoft Ventures runs amazing programs like a seed fund and accelerators in India, UK, France and more, at the core of it continues to be Microsoft BizSpark. BizSpark supports tech startups early on with free software including Windows, Visual Studio, Office and more representing over $13,000 in software and that’s per developer! Furthermore, BizSpark includes Windows Azure hosting credits worth $150 a month which you can use to host your web site, your web app, Windows servers & yes Linux servers as well! Did I mention that this was all free for 3 years? Check it out for yourself at or learn more here on our BizSpark & Startups info page.

Investing in your success

The tools & resources that BizSpark provides are hugely beneficial to any tech startup but the relationships we are building with each of these hubs in Canada takes things further to really help you succeed. Microsoft is onsite at each of these locations to provide technical mentorship and assistance as well as access to a variety of devices including tablets and phones for development and testing. Not sure when or where to find us? Just email us to setup some time to talk at

About those hubs

As I said, we couldn’t be more excited to increase our commitment through this relationship with Launch Academy, Notman House & MaRS. Each of these locations has a unique community behind them and an amazing team leading them.

Launch Academy – Vancouver

Launch Academy (@launch_academy): Vancouver is known as a creative and entrepreneurial city and Launch Academy embodies this through their pre-accelerator program and co-working space. Launch Academy aims to build a vibrant startup ecosystem and a prosperous economy where new jobs are created and new markets are discovered, which is why Microsoft is excited to partner with them.

“This relationship embodies the spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship here in Vancouver. Microsoft has been instrumental in the growth and establishment of Launch Academy as the Centre for Entrepreneurship in British Columbia. We are excited to expand our relationship with Microsoft Ventures and continue building the vibrant startup ecosystem and prosperous economy we all aspire to achieve” – Ray Walia Executive Director, Launch Academy.

Notman House – Montreal

Notman House (@notman): Montreal represents a growing share of the Canadian tech startup ecosystem, with many startups emerging and an extremely active venture capital scene, and Notman House brings together players from all parts of the community. Notman House has rapidly become the “Home of the Web” in Montreal, making it a natural fit to partner with Microsoft. Many great founders, startups, and ideas have been born from the meeting space, where events and meetups occur almost daily, and the office space provides a place for collaboration and growth for many startups, both from Montreal and abroad.

“Montreal has a blossoming web culture, and being the “Home of the Web” allows us to be at the center of all things tech in Montreal. Having Microsoft Ventures and BizSpark permanently in the house has been a fantastic offering for the city’s developers, who are constantly seeking to bring new innovations to the web space. An invaluable partner, they offer our visitors access to markets that they wouldn’t have otherwise, as well as unparalleled support for our developers through their presence at the House.” – Notman House

MaRS Discovery District – Toronto

MaRS Discovery District (@marsdd): Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District is one of the world’s largest urban innovation centres, cultivating high-impact ventures and equipping innovators to drive economic and social prosperity in Canada. MaRS’ Information Technology, Communications & Entertainment (ICE) practice supports key industry clusters by providing them with business/technical advisory services, education and market research, and connecting them to talent, customers and capital. MaRS’ global reputation for innovation and dedication to building high-growth companies makes them an ideal partner.

“Having members of the Microsoft Ventures team onsite at MaRS offers tremendous value to the diverse and talented entrepreneurs who gather here from across many fields and focus on many different technologies and markets, we’re thrilled to have them here as a resource for our startups.” – Salim Teja, Managing Director of MaRS’ ICE Practice

To learn more about these amazing startup hubs, about Microsoft Ventures or the Microsoft BizSpark program check out the full story here, click on the links below, or email us at

Marc Gagné

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