3 MIN READ, JULY 31, 2020
EMERGE 2020 was an experiment for us and all our 4200 attendees, yet we ready to share with you key insgints from this virtual experience we have build together at the beginning of June.
What is Azure for Startups? How startups can benefit from using Microsoft cloud?
In 2020 EMERGE for the first time in history was held online. We gathered together 4 300 mindlike people from more than 100 countries: startups, tech talent, investors, media and corporates.

5 stages, more than 100 speakers from 7 time zones (from Australia to California) were sharing their experience and ideas about future, technologies and in depth product development.

Among EMERGE 2020 participants we had: 44% CEO/founders, 44% tech talent and 39% startups. As usual, we are proud to say that 41% of participants were women in tech.


EMERGE is a global tech product conference, where entrepreneurs, tech professionals, investors, and scientists finally all get together to create the future we want to live in. It's a 360° overview of product development, scaling, and growth.

In 2020 EMERGE for the first time in history was held online. We gathered together 4 300 mindlike people from more than 100 countries: startups, tech talent, investors, media and corporates. Talks, fireside chats, panel discussions, workshops, roundtables and lots of networking about future, technologies and in depth product development.



Dates. 1-3 June 2020

Place. Online from anywhere.

4 308 people joined EMERGE Online
110 speakers
45 people in the EMERGE Team made it all happen
10 organizers
35 volunteers

102 countries were connected to EMERGE 2020
493 companies were present at the EMERGE Online
174 startups


5 Stages with awesome content were streaming simultaneously

Future Stage 72007 minutes watched, 3784 live viewers

Unicorn Stage 110540 minutes watched, 6750 live viewers

Build & Grow 1 11169 minutes watched, 825 live viewers

Build & Grow 2 7917 minutes watched, 633 live viewers

Venture Night 4490 live minutes watched, 435 live viewers

70 hours of streams

90 sessions happening live at EMERGE 2020

60 live sessions on stages

14 roundtable discussion

8 workshops

110 speakers were sharing their awesome talks and brilliant ideas at EMERGE 2020

Keynote speakers:

GIDEON LICHFIELD, Editor-in-chief, MIT Technology Review

TIM DRAPER, Founder, Draper Associates

DEEPAK CHOPRA, Founder, Chopra Global

STACEY BENDET, CEO & Creative Director, Alice + Olivia

EDDIE STERN, Founder, The Breathing App

Top 5 most popular speakers among participants:

  1. LIUBOU MINNIYEVA, Senior Product Manager Customer Experience, Tesla

  2. ANDREY KHUSID, CEO & Founder, Miro

  3. ARKADIY DOBKIN, CEO & President, EPAM Systems

  4. DEEPAK CHOPRA, Founder, Chopra Global

  5. HANS VAN DE BRUGGEN, Product Design Lead, Dave, Inc., ex-Netflix


504 startup applications were received to participate at EMERGE 2020

174 startups made it to EMERGE 2020

34 countries were represented by startup at EMERGE 2020

Top 5 from EMERGE 2020 startups

  1. Russian Federation 50

  2. Belarus 37

  3. Kazakhstan 16

  4. Ukraine 13

  5. Armenia
Startups from 29 industries were participating at EMERGE 2020

Top 5 industries:

  1. AI & Machine Learning 41

  2. Big Data 28

  3. Enterprise Software Solutions 27

  4. Advertising, Content & Marketing 23

  5. Education 22


10 000 euro EMERGE CHALLENGE cash prize

3 months application and screening process

40 judges at EMERGE CHALLENGE from investment and startup ecosystem

1960 minutes of pitches at EMERGE CHALLENGE

152 startups made it to EMERGE CHALLENGE Quarterfinals

10 startups pitching at the Future stage during the EMERGE 2020


102 mentors and 183 hours of mentorship sessions to startups


4 208 participants joined EMERGE Online

Geography of EMERGE 2020 participants broke the record this year- 102 countries

Top 10 countries

  1. Belarus 31,42%

  2. Russia 18,37%

  3. Kazakhstan 5,41%

  4. Ukraine 4,88%

  5. Netherlands 3,00%

  6. Poland 2,10%

  7. USA 2,10%

  8. UK 2,07%

  9. Turkey 1,38%

  10. Armenia 1,29%

EMERGE Participants by Ticket type

Tech Talent 44%

Startups 39%

Investors 17%

EMERGE Participants by Sex

Female 41,5%

Male 58,5%

EMERGE Participants by Job Level

Founder/ CEO 44%

Manager / Specialist 31%

Department Director 16%

EMERGE Participants by Department

Product management & design 20%

Engineering 20%

PR & Marketing 15%

EMERGE Participants by top 5 industries

  1. Advertising, Content & Marketing 16%

  2. Enterprise Software Solutions 12%

  3. Education 8%

  4. AI & Machine Learning 7%

  5. Fintech 6%

5. eCommerce & Retail 6%
What benefits and perks could bring Microsoft for startups?
Plenty of them! I would highlight three appealing advantages to join Microsoft for Startups program. First of all, companies are granted with the Azure cloud platform credits (up to $ 120 000) and advisory from Microsoft tech leaders whose primary mission is to help partners and customers to use Microsoft technologies in the most appropriate way. Second of all, the platform gives access to the developer tools, such as Visual Studio and GitHub Enterprise, and the other business productivity services. Empowered with such a kit, any company can easily tune the development flow, improve the teamwork as well as organize the sales process. Finally, startup will be able to leverage Microsoft’s commercial marketplaces, enterprise sales team, and ever-expanding partner ecosystem to reach global customers. For more than two years, Microsoft motivates own sellers to promote and sell the partners' tech solutions built on cloud technologies.

With sufficient level of insistence, creativity and understanding of how Microsoft works, the startup can get even much more. Microsoft is a big corporation, but it’s flexible in terms of customer support. Thus, it’s important to define what support you need and how both parties could benefit from it.
Microsoft speaking at EMERGE 2019
Ruthy Kaidar and Myladie Stoumbou from Microsoft speaking at EMERGE 2019
How does Microsoft support startups from the New East region to scale globally?
Microsoft provides services and infrastructure which are trusted worldwide. Our services are certified in many countries and industries. Therefore, it makes easier for startups to bring their solutions into compliance with local regulations. Another important topic is the access to customers. Almost all enterprise customers in the world are Microsoft customers. The co-sell program, which I mentioned above, represents a global initiative, meaning that the sellers from every Microsoft subsidiary are at your disposal. Marketplace helps startups to make their solutions visible for customers as well as for Microsoft sellers at the global scale. In the long-term perspective, your tech product can be a tool for the application delivery to almost any Microsoft customer in the world. But it's worth highlighting that any startup should have the solid strategy, business plan and resources for global expansion to benefit from Microsoft scaling offers.
What are the criteria for startups Microsoft works with?
Microsoft provides support to startups at all stages. For early stage companies dozens of publicly accessible tools and learning paths are available. Startups at the growth stage can apply for Microsoft for Startups program. For this premium offer, we prioritize the startups working with the enterprise technology or B2B, which can best serve our customers and also benefit most from the listed program. The new member applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
 — Offering an innovative technical solution that supports customers in their digital transformation;
 — Less than seven years in existence;
 — Seed, Series A, B, or C stage (or validated equivalent).
Does Microsoft partner with global accelerators?
Yes, we cooperate with the startup enabling organizations locally and globally. Microsoft partners with Station F in France. Also, companies from the NVIDIA Inception program get preferred access to MSfS. Early in 2020, Microsoft launched and delivered the Global Pilots acceleration program in partnership with EY, Startupbootcamp and Altergate VC.
How the network of business angels and VC funds can partner with Microsoft?
Venture Capitals and Microsoft pursue the same aims — accelerate the growth of startups. According to the examples above, Microsoft can offer VCs and their portfolio companies the tools to support their workflow management and business expansion. Furthermore, the partnership with Microsoft can positively affect the assessment of the company during the next round. Since Microsoft can connect investors with startups and vice versa from the different geographies based on their interest and focus, thus, the corporation is interested to expand the cooperation with VCs worldwide.
In order to have overview on how to cultivate the global mindset for building tech products and scale your startup internationally, we're happy to share the talk by Bunmi Durowoju, Senior Business Development Manager - AI and Intelligent Cloud, Emerging Markets, MS Airband Initiative at Microsoft, which was delivered at our FUTURE stream at EMERGE 2020.
Bunmi Durowoju from Microsoft speaking at FUTURE stream during EMERGE 2020
EMERGE Team hopes that you enjoyed reading this blogpost. Stay updated with us for the further updates on our blog!
Contributing Author, EMERGE
Researcher in travel tech and travel enthusiast. Ilona is an advocate of women in science and tech. Addicted to coffee.