Microsoft Accelerator names Bala Girisaballa as CEO, elevates Ravi Narayan as global director

30 Aug, 2016

Microsoft has appointed former Zinnov executive Bala Girisaballa as chief executive officer-in-residence to lead Microsoft Accelerator in India while Ravi Narayan, it's former head, has been elevated to the role of Global Director.

"Bala will lead the Accelerator's efforts to help market-ready startups and entrepreneurs to scale up and become successful businesses through the technology enablement, global go-to-market efforts and deep business advisory in the form of Hi-Po and Scale-Up programmes," the company said in a statement.


Prior to this, Girisaballa was with Zinnov as partner and practice head.

Girisaballa took charge of the Accelerator's India operations with effect from August 1, 2016. In his new role, Narayan will head Microsoft Accelerator in eight locations around the world and will focus on scaling the startup acceleration model through global partners.

Microsoft had recently restructured its startup programmes to separate its venture arm and the accelerator programme. Microsoft Ventures, under which the accelerator programme was run so far, is now a pure venture unit that will focus on Series A and beyond investments in North America and Israel while the accelerator will focus on startup enablement under its nine accelerators across the globe.


Narayan said Microsoft Ventures is also mulling to enter the Indian startup scene soon for potential investments, but an official decision is yet to be made.

The accelerator programme in India has produced 95 startups so far, of which 87% received venture capital funding raising around $177 million. The programme also witnessed nine acquisitions so far, the latest ones being Calm.io, from its most recent batch, acquired by Nutanix and Profoundis acquired by US-based FullContact.

With its CoInnovate programme, Microsoft Accelerator also partners with large companies including Temasek, TCS, Citi, and Reliance Industries to power their startup programmes.


Girisaballa said the firm targets to impact over 40 startups this year to generate around $40 million in deal pipeline.

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