Acceleprise launches as the first independent accelerator focused solely on enterprise SaaS technology in the United States. It will invest in over 60 enterprise software companies over three years. The program will focus on companies trying to solve problems for some of the world’s larger organizations (ranging from the Fortune 5000 to large nonprofits and governments), connecting them with mentors, partners, and customers. Each company will receive $30,000 and be brought to the Acceleprise HQ for four months. The first class will begin July 15, 2012.
The SaaS focused program will build the preeminent community for enterprise technologists. From enterprise tech focused VCs, to customers, and mentors, Acceleprise is a community-driven accelerator. Each portfolio company will have access to Acceleprise’s “customer panel” program. These panels are comprised of large enterprises that have agreed to take sales meetings with each of portfolio company. Customer panel members will include Microsoft, The Washington Post Company, and others.
Vijay Ravindran, Chief Digital Officer of the Washington Post Company, said, “Enterprise technology helps large organizations solve problems in a scalable, efficient manner. In the last few years, we’ve seen innovative technology emerge out of the enterprise software space, yet the venture community is just starting to take notice. We’re excited about working with Acceleprise to help enterprise technology entrepreneurs get the resources they need and build bigger companies, faster.”
The SaaS accelerator will include a vast network of mentors including Scott Case, CEO of Startup America, Vijay Ravindran, the Chief Digital Officer of The Washington Post Company, and Jonathan Bulkeley, former CEO of BarnesandNoble.com.
Scott Case said, “Startups in every market across the country need the support and network density necessary to grow their businesses. Acceleprise will be a fantastic resource for startups focused on enterprise technology and we’re excited to have them on board as an affiliate.”
Acceleprise will be based in Washington, DC, home of the federal government (the largest enterprise customer, the home to the majority of trade associations crucial to enterprise distribution, and a major hub for enterprise software with companies such as Microstrategy and Blackboard. Vincent Gray, Mayor of Washington, said that, “With over 2,000 technology companies, world-class universities, and a growing number of accelerators and incubators, Washington DC is bursting with entrepreneurial activity. As an international center for governments, non-profits, and associations, the District is a particularly attractive place for the enterprise software entrepreneurs that Acceleprise will assist.”
Microsoft BizSpark Plus Network Partner
In addition, Acceleprise is also announcing that it is joining the Microsoft BizSpark Plus program as a Network Partner. This allows Acceleprise startups to leverage the Windows Azure cloud development environment, including development tools, processing and storage resources, and more, worth up to $60,000 per startup at no charge over a two year period. BizSpark Plus will be making other high-value offers available to network partners over time.
“We are very supportive of Acceleprise’s focus on startups building enterprise solutions, and see this as a crucial but sometimes overlooked market segment for startups and investors,” said Dan’l Lewin, corporate vice president, Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft. “Access to an enterprise class cloud platform like Windows Azure through the BizSpark Plus program should prove very valuable to startups seeking to meet the needs of this class of customer.”