Friday, May 17, 2013, Microsoft France inaugurated its first startup accelerator “SPARK” (300M2) on rue du Sentier (Paris 02) in the presence of BTI.
The principle of this accelerator is simple: a jury made up of managers from Microsoft and reputable entrepreneurs selects around ten startup projects each quarter at a very early stage.
The corresponding teams are housed for 3 months in the Parisian offices of SPARK: beyond free offices in the center of the capital, these startups benefit from free high-level technical and business coaching: 6 people are dedicated full-time by Microsoft to the operation of this accelerator.
At the end of the 3-month period, the startups must have developed a prototype of their service or product, and are then directed to partner incubators of SPARK.
The President of Microsoft France, Alain CROZIER underlined that this new step marked the thirtieth anniversary of the presence of the famous US firm in Paris: “It is not by chance that Microsoft has also chosen Paris to set up its European headquarters” he insisted on reaffirming.
The Parisian priority for openness to entrepreneurship and for the development of “digital Paris” was confirmed both by Anne Hidalgo and Jean louis Missika (deputy mayor of Paris), and by Jacques Boutault, mayor of 2th district where the “silicon trail” has been located for ten years, around the old stock exchange.
Gilles Babinet, former director of CNN, summed up the importance of the issue with a simple sentence: “digital services will recreate the new glorious thirties”, like the mythical period of strong growth which presided over the years. 1945/1975.
Roxanne Varza and Nicolas Coudière, directors of SPARK and Jean Ferré, director of the developers, platforms and ecosystem division of Microsoft, concluded the event by already announcing probable extensions of SPARK, both in Paris (doubling of the surface ) and in some large provincial towns.
All the speakers specifically mentioned the very positive role of Bouygues Telecom Initiatives, which happens to be the first private partner to have signed the SPARK partnership contract.