In the Microsoft Accelerator with SD’s Embarke: ‘This is Not Easy!’

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that he can only speculate on some of the key factors:

—The founding team is crucial. The TechStars employees, he writes, “do not shy away from the fact that they are ALL about the team. Do you HAVE a team? Do you get along and have great rapport? Do you play nice with others? Can you execute, or have you executed?”

—Microsoft established the program—known officially in some quarters as the “Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure powered by TechStars”—to cultivate the ecosystem for Azure, the company’s cloud-computing platform. “Embarke’s been using Azure for a year and a half, and we love it,” Bsharah writes. “You don’t HAVE to be using it to get in, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt our odds.”

—“Finally,” he adds, “it probably didn’t hurt that at the time of [our] application we had just hired two developers, got our first customer, were working through a partnership deal, and were selected by SDVG [San Diego Venture Group] as a “Cool Company.”

When I asked Bsharah if he has any advice for other San Diego startups interested in the Microsoft Accelerator, he replied: “The application process is a great experience, it’s a well-oiled machine and they take it very seriously. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t have some fun with it. Be amazing, but be yourself (they’ll see right through it if you’re not)… Have an open mind, and be prepared to accept some truths you might not want to hear. We are 1,200 miles away from our families, and we’ve got 100 days to go. This is not easy!”

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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