Women in Cloud Accelerator names first startups, giving access to Microsoft and HPE sales channels

Kate Isler, CEO of Daysaver

Kate Isler says her company, Daysaver, needs to start growing. Isler wants to show off her cloud-based patient scheduling software to gigantic healthcare providers — and she wants to prove to them that Daysaver can scale up fast to meet their needs.

Isler, who is Daysaver’s CEO, is hoping a new business accelerator for women-run cloud companies, offered by Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, will plug her into new cloud technologies and big-name customers.

“I have so much opportunity but I have limited resources,” said Isler, who used to work as a marketing and advertising director for Microsoft. “To get into those larger health systems, this is exactly what I needed.”

Daysaver is one of a dozen companies participating in the Women in Cloud Accelerator, which was unveiled in January at the Women in Cloud Summit on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. The accelerator provides women-run cloud companies with training, mentorship, discounts on Microsoft and HPE services and, most significantly for Isler and other CEOs, access to both companies’ sales channels.

The program’s organizers recently announced the first class of participants. In addition to Daysaver, they are: Clever Databases, Stylyze Inc., Plantmatch LLC, RightSciences, Agile Impact Group, Bitlume Inc., Computing Kids, genneve, Automaton Marketing Inc., Red Sky, and Visual Media Group.

Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft corporate vice president for commercial partner channels and programs, left, with Carrie Francey, Hewlett Packard Enterprise vice president strategic alliances, at the inaugural Women in Cloud Summit in Redmond. (Tony Lystra Photo)

Only 20 percent of all businesses are owned by women and a mere 3 percent of VC funding goes to women-owned startups, said Chaitra Vedullapalli, one of the accelerator’s organizers and co-founder of Meylah, an e-commerce platform.

The accelerator has a simple goal: Increase the number of women-owned businesses operating in the cloud industry by giving them training and access to big customers.

In all, twenty-four companies applied to the six-month program, Vedullapalli said. Participating companies must be led by women and working to build a cloud-based revenue model.

While business incubators help nascent companies gain their footing, accelerators aim to help older, more adolescent companies thrive.

Most of the companies accepted into the Cloud Accelerator Lab are at least a year old, Vedullapalli said. Some, she said, have been in business for as much as eight years but their sales stalled and they need to tap into Microsoft’s and HPE’s distribution channels to recover.

Vedullapalli said the Cloud Accelerator Lab is different from others by providing that sales-channel access. “This one gives them access to customers in a way they never thought about,” she said.