On Tuesday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Microsoft announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the growth of space technology start-ups in India. The MoU seeks to empower space tech start-ups across the country with technology tools and platforms, go-to-market support, and mentoring to help them scale and become enterprise-ready.
This collaboration has come at a time when Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella is in Bengaluru to take part in Microsoft Future Ready Technology Summit. The collaboration seeks to strengthen ISRO’s vision of harnessing the market potential of the most promising space tech innovators and entrepreneurs in India, Microsoft said in a release.
Through this tie-up, the space tech start-ups identified by ISRO will be onboarded onto the ‘Microsoft for Start-ups Founders Hub platform’, which supports start-ups at every stage of their journey-from idea to unicorn. This platform offers start-ups access to a range of resources and tools, including technical support to build and scale on Azure, developer and productivity tools such as GitHub Enterprise, Visual Studio Enterprise, and Microsoft 365, and access to smart analytics with Power BI and Dynamics 365.
Noting that through the hub, space-tech start-up founders in India will have free access to the tech tools and resources they need to build and run their business, the release further said, “This includes technical support to build and scale on Azure, best-in-class developer and productivity tools including GitHub Enterprise, Visual Studio Enterprise and Microsoft 365 and access to smart analytics with Power BI and Dynamics 365.”
ISRO Chairman S Somanath said that the space agency’s collaboration with Microsoft will greatly benefit space tech start-ups in their analysis and processing of vast amounts of satellite data for various applications, using cutting-edge methods like AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. He stated, “The Microsoft for Start-ups Founders Hub is a useful platform for bringing together start-ups and providers of technology solutions to support the national space technology ecosystem. We are pleased to work together to assist and support entrepreneurs, to in turn benefit the Indian economy as a whole.”
In addition to access to technology, Microsoft will provide mentoring support to space tech entrepreneurs in areas ranging from space engineering to cloud technologies, product and design, fund-raising, and sales and marketing. Founders will also have access to Microsoft Learn, which offers tailored start-up centric training content and programmes to help them build connections with the industry and potential customers.
Microsoft and ISRO will also jointly organise knowledge sharing and thought leadership sessions with space industry experts. These sessions will give start-ups the opportunity
to learn from industry experts and exchange ideas with their peers. In addition, the collaboration will support founders with go-to-market strategies, technical support, and opportunities to sell their solutions via Microsoft channels and marketplace.
Microsoft India President Anant Maheshwari commented on the collaboration, stating, “Space tech start-ups in India are playing a significant role in advancing the country’s space capabilities with the power of technology. We are pleased to collaborate with ISRO to accelerate this transformation of what’s possible in space. Through our technology tools, platforms, and mentorship opportunities, we are deeply committed to empowering space tech start-ups in the country to drive cutting-edge innovation and accelerate scientific discovery.”
This collaboration between ISRO and Microsoft comes at a time when the Indian government is looking to boost the country’s space sector and make it more self-reliant. In recent years, the government has increased its budget for the space sector and has also implemented policies to encourage private sector participation in the sector. The collaboration between ISRO and Microsoft will undoubtedly help to support the growth of space technology start-ups in India and enable them to contribute to the country’s space capabilities.