News : Microsoft Hotline Helps Entrepreneurs in India Build Tech Startups
April 23, 2014 -- Microsoft Ventures, the company's startup investment and accelerator arm, opened JumpStart, a number where support specialists will field calls from Indian entrepreneurs. Microsoft insists there are no restrictions on the type of questions an entrepreneur can ask, but expects its dedicated call center staff to be mostly advising customers on legal, funding or marketing issues. Microsoft says workers will walk callers through the processes of registering a company, preparing taxes, tracking down an accountant and finding a good lawyer. They're also happy to suggest technology solutions.
These days, dial-in tech support seems old-fashioned to say the least, but Indians could use whatever help they can get. It's one of the toughest countries to start a business in, according to the World Bank. Part of that can be attributed to the 2012 "startup tax" that treats Indian investments as income, essentially penalizing companies that raise money locally. Amid complaints of over-regulation, last year was also the worst for Indian technology IPOs in more than a decade.
Microsoft Ventures, which has six accelerators worldwide, plans to use feedback gathered from the program to fine-tune its various Indian startup-centric efforts.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, April 24, 2014