Why I joined Microsoft
I am thrilled to announce that I’m joining Microsoft to lead the startup partnerships’ strategy.
For many people from my network, this post might come as a surprise, as I’m an AWS Community Hero, and in the past few years, I’ve been advocating over talks and blogs posts on how startups can grow with AWS. Although AWS is a great company, I’ve decided to join Microsoft for a few reasons.
In the past few years, I’ve worked at startups from different industries (fintech, healthcare and DevOps). Epsagon, the most recent startup I’ve worked at, was the first time I joined a startup at the very beginning (seed stage). I was the first commercial hire and had the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and build the global business development strategy from scratch. My team was responsible for driving new growth opportunities through our network of partners. One of my proudest moments was seeing Epsagon on stage during a re:Invent keynote by AWS’s CTO Werner Vogels, talking about top partner integrations.
During my three years at Epsagon, I realized three things. One — I’m a builder. I like building strategies and tactics from scratch. Second — I love working with early stage startups, in their challenging, but most exciting phase in the startup’s lifecycle. Three — the growing ecosystem of cloud alliances is an exciting opportunity for startups to accelerate their business by leveraging business, technical, and go-to-market support. Getting this support from cloud providers is undoubtedly not an easy journey for a young startup. Still, at Epsagon, my team and I were able to develop a solid joint value proposition that accelerated Epsagon’s business growth.
I’m now excited for the opportunity to use my learnings to help the startup ecosystem at scale. Here are some of the reasons why I made this decision:
Microsoft’s commitment to the startup ecosystem. Microsoft is an enterprise-first company, everybody knows that. However, I’ve recently learned that Microsoft’s focus in startups is growing tremendously. My first experience with Microsoft was when I started to build Epsagon’s Cloud Alliance with Microsoft. I worked with Raz Bachar, Managing Director of Microsoft for Startups, that helped me to unlock co-marketing and co-sell opportunities (for example — this blog post on Microsoft’s blog). We have enrolled to Microsoft’s Co-Sell Program and obtained the IP Co-Sell status (which motivates Microsoft’s sellers to sell our product). Further, we listed our product on the Azure Marketplace in order to be enterprise ready (the marketplace with the lowest listing fee in the market today). The attention that we have got as an early stage startup helped us to move fast in the partner journey and support our enterprise customers. Further, I learned from the leadership team (see below) that as of this year, the startups program will be evolving and additional resources will be invested to support startups.
Helping startups on their business journey is my passion. Seeing first-hand how partnering with cloud providers can boost startups growth, drove me to share my learning in my blog and in the Cloud Partners Community group. As a result of that, I’ve been approached by tens of startups that were looking for guidance on how to master their cloud alliance journey. I really enjoyed (and still am) these conversations, and liked diving deep into new product offering to evaluate the Cloud Alliance potential. As Microsoft is investing more in Startups, I have the opportunity to build a new role from scratch and work closely with the startups ecosystem while helping to shape Microsoft’s Startups strategy for years to come.
Leadership. At the end of the day, it is all about the people. In addition to Raz Bachar, there are two more leaders that I’ve decided to follow in this chapter of my career — Ido Jonathan Engel, Azure Business Group Leader and Frida Klement Knibbs, Director for ISVs Partnerships. I’ve first met Ido in 2014, during my MBA studies. I took part in an exclusive entrepreneurship seminar. This seminar provided a unique opportunity to work closely with startup co-founders from Microsoft Ventures Accelerator. One of those startups was Medicope (now Wisdo), co-founded by Ido Jonathan Engel. Ido was an amazing mentor. He took a personal interest in developing my skills and involved me in his day-to-day work, dilemmas, and considerations. 8 years later, he joined Microsoft, and instilled in me his enthusiasm for Azure’s role driving startup growth. He then introduced me to Frida Klement Knibbs, who inspired me when she laid out her vision and plan of how Microsoft can provide unique value to startups and ISVs.
In my new role at Microsoft, I’ll continue to build those tight collaborations to help startups grow and maximize their business.
I’m excited to work with Frida, Ido, Raz, and the rest of the team! Looking forward to working with super bright people and making a significant impact!