Paying To Serve: Microsoft Offers Accelerator-Backed Startups $60,000* In Azure Cloud Usage

The perks of getting into a top startup accelerator just got a little better. Microsoft is now offering startups in its new BizSpark Plus program $60,000 worth of costs for using its Azure cloud computing program. This includes any company that’s a part of TechStars or its affiliated Global Accelerator Network, as well as Seedcamp, Dogpatch Labs, and a list of others.

Let’s say your hot new startup has just launched to the public, gotten TechCrunched, and is dealing with its big first wave of traffic. This deal will let you quickly scale up to meet the demand without blowing your seed funding on emergency virtual machines. An open cloud services platform, Azure works with major development languages including node.js, java, php and Microsoft’s own . net, among others — the point, from Microsoft’s perspective, is to get in with the next batch of companies before they get hooked on offerings from rivals like Amazon.

Or let’s say you’re working on an enterprise app, that also needs to get in front of lots of potential clients. Beyond the broad technical options available in Azure, there’s another selling point. Microsoft will work to connect Plus startups with its many enterprise and mid-market customers, corporate vice president Dan’L Lewin tells me.

BizSpark has already been around for a few years, with the general goal of supporting startups while introducing them to .net and other Microsoft-backed languages and resources. The Plus branch of the program, which is officially launching today, is planning on offering other services in addition to Azure. But, per the asterisk in the headline, you should note that the $60,000 doesn’t last forever — according to the Plus web site, the first year is free and the second year is half off the retail price.

TechStars, which is headlining the Azure announcement today, has previously worked together with Microsoft on a variety of other projects, including an incubator focused on its hit Kinect devices.

The deal, generally, is another example of accelerators upping the benefits they can provide startups. TechStars began offering $100,000 convertible notes to each of its accepted companies last fall, on top of its initial seed funding. Y Combinator partnered with Yuri Milner, SV Angels and Andreessen Horowitz last summer to provide $150,000 notes.