Making an impact in finance with Microsoft’s technology accelerator programmes

Microsoft’s Richard Peers and finlytics’ Nick Simpson explain how Microsoft’s technology accelerator programmes help start-ups make an impact in the financial services market

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 04 February 2015
Making an impact in finance with Microsoft’s technology accelerator programmes

This article was first published in the Winter 2014 issue of OnWindows

Technology accelerator programmes, which provide start-ups with the technology, funding and advisory resources they need to speed up their entry to market, are fast becoming a staple in financial services markets across the globe.

“In the past, start-ups would spend a lot of time building their company’s IT infrastructures which left them little time to focus on developing the high-quality products, profitable business strategies and effective marketing campaigns they needed to enter the market successfully,” explains Richard Peers, director of the financial services industry at Microsoft. “Today, fintech accelerator programmes enable entrepreneurs to experiment with different ideas and quickly develop breakthrough products that have the potential to revolutionise the financial services industry.”

Microsoft offers various accelerator initiatives, including seven global Microsoft Ventures programmes and the BizSpark programme, which gives start-ups access to its technology stack, partners and marketing engines.

finlytics, which was established in 2006 as a joint venture with a tier-one investment bank, is one financial solutions provider that has benefited from Microsoft’s BizSpark Plus programme.

The company joined BizSpark to help it save operational and development costs by offering its business intelligence solutions via the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, rather than on its clients’ on-premises servers. BizSpark’s team provided free access to Microsoft’s software development tools, servers and Azure cloud platform, as well as provided expert guidance.

“Microsoft reviewed our architecture and initial business strategies, and gave us the planning advice and software resources we needed to successfully transition from our old model in a shorter period of time,” explains Nick Simpson, the founder of ­finlytics. “We have eliminated our monthly development costs and can now deliver the same reporting and business intelligence applications via a more cost-effective and scaleable model on Azure.”

Working in collaboration with BizSpark and its Microsoft partner Level 39, a fintech accelerator based in the UK’s Canary Wharf, enabled finlytics to interact with major banks, insurers and other financial services institutions.

"Even if a start-up had an unlimited supply of money, it would still benefit from being a member of the BizSpark programme,” concludes Simpson. “Deploying cloud solutions in the financial services sector can be challenging due to the strict regulations, but the Microsoft Ventures and BizSpark accelerator programmes are really helping start-ups to navigate these compliance issues, build viable business plans and bring their solutions to market quickly.”

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