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I am going to embark very soon on a software venture (have been a consultant and employee up until now).

I see advantages in signing up for Microsoft's BizSpark.

However, I wonder if doing so would preclude me from accepting funding from some equity-esque arrangements potentially available via crowdfunding.

I know BizSpark's legal agreement probably spells this out, but it's about a gazillion pages long, so I'm hoping somebody here has existing knowledge of this so I don't have to spend a lot of time reading legalese.

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migrated from programmers.stackexchange.com Oct 17 '12 at 14:54

This question came from our site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development.

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+1. As an aside, you probably need to improve your tolerance for legalese now that you are starting this software venture –  MarkJ Oct 17 '12 at 7:56
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I'd like to reinforce what MarkJ said. As an entrepreneur, you're likely to be expected to be able to decipher fairly large and sophisticated legalese, and fairly quickly, on your own. –  blueberryfields Oct 18 '12 at 20:02
    
The agreement is NOT that long and you should read it if you are considering it. –  TimJ May 7 '13 at 21:06

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The eligibility requirements are stated in Annex D (the last page of the agreement), which simply states that:

Except for locales listed in the table below, the Startup must have revenue less than one million dollars ($1,000,000) annually. If the Startup’s place of business is not listed below then the Startup must have revenue of less than one million dollars annually:

Annual revenue must be less than:
China       
$750,000
Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ukraine
$500,000
Egypt, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam
$250,000

There are some additional requirements, but those are the monetary requirements. I would imagine that Microsoft considers "revenue" to be money earned from sales, but you might want to clarify that with them.

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Revenue is revenue, so consulting, support agreements, take your pick. –  Ian Oct 17 '12 at 5:46
    
I would also add that Microsoft and Bizspark have related programs to encourage visibility for marketing and fund raising. –  TimJ Oct 17 '12 at 17:31
    
I did notice that when I applied for BizSpark, there was a checkbox re: whether I would be open to investors; is that what you mean by the related program for fund raising? –  B. Clay Shannon Oct 19 '12 at 21:51
    
@ClayShannon: TimJ doesn't get notified unless you put @TimJ somewhere in your comment, as I have done here to notify you. Some notifications do occur automatically (I got notified because you posted a comment below my answer), but not this one. –  Robert Harvey Oct 19 '12 at 21:53
    
@RobertHarvey: thanks, I didn't know that (semi-obviously) –  B. Clay Shannon Oct 20 '12 at 22:57

Funding doesn't forbid you from being in the program. The program doesn't forbid you from getting funding. In fact, it's been my experience that getting into the program and using low cost and free development tools makes it easier for you to put any funding you get towards your startup in other ways, like growing traction, ramping up employee numbers. I'm Douglas Crets, social media strategist for BizSpark.

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