Microsoft Ventures forges exclusive start-up deal with NDRC

18 Jun 2014

NDRC CEO Ben Hurley with Microsoft Ireland's developer lead Clare Dillon and the CEO-in-residence of Microsoft Ventures Andy McCartney

Software giant Microsoft’s start-up arm Microsoft Ventures has forged an exclusive partnership in Ireland with Dublin accelerator NDRC to provide digital start-ups with expertise and resources to make their idea go global.

To date, NDRC’s portfolio of start-up ventures has cumulatively secured €40m in follow-on investment from commercial investors, and these ventures have a combined market capitalisation of about €120m. 

NDRC portfolio ventures have created more than 300 direct jobs, with a consequent jobs impact of about 1,250 jobs.

Microsoft has had a long-term interest in supporting start-ups. The company is credited with being an early investor in Facebook and it was actually an early investor in Waze, which Google recently bought for US$1.3bn. Last year, Microsoft bought enterprise social network player Yammer for US$1.2bn.

The partnership with Microsoft Ventures will provide NDRC’s start-up ventures with mentors, support and access to top technical and business talent, as well as potential access to a global investor network.

“Having worked with NDRC for many years through Microsoft’s BizSpark programme, which has provided support to more than 1,000 start-ups from Ireland, we are delighted to be able to announce this partnership,” said Clare Dillon, developer lead at Microsoft Ireland.

“We look forward to working with NDRC and the Irish start-up community to help emerging businesses succeed in a global marketplace.”

Access to Microsoft’s big black book

An example of how the partnership is already working is Von Bismark, an e-commerce website for the high street and a portfolio venture of NDRC.

Von Bismark allows consumers to digitally try on and buy the clothing they are looking for, while reducing costs and increasing sales for retailers.

Von Bismark took part in the NDRC LaunchPad tech accelerator in late 2011. It went on to receive seed investment in 2013, and participated in the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in London in 2014.

“The benefit of the partnership with Microsoft Ventures is clear to see in the trajectory of Irish company Von Bismark,” NDRC chief executive Ben Hurley said.

“NDRC was the company’s first investor and now with the support of Microsoft Ventures it has been able to pitch to leading US investors, opening the door to the US. The goal for this new partnership is to enable more tech companies to reach their potential through Microsoft’s support.”

This week, Von Bismark’s CEO Eoghan O’Sullivan is in Silicon Valley, California. Microsoft Ventures chose him to present at Global Startup Day, an event for a select group of investors.

“We connect with entrepreneurial communities all over the world and NDRC is a prime example of the type of accelerator who we seek to partner with based on their excellent expertise, experience and achievements in bringing innovative new businesses towards market success,” said Andy McCartney, CEO-in-residence at Microsoft Ventures.

“This partnership ties in closely with our mission to foster world-class innovation and investment opportunities which create long-term economic value.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years