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Startup Mission to Seattle Begins with Amazon Launchpad, Microsoft and Ably

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The Pittsburgh Technology Council and FortyX80 startup mission to Seattle kicked off taking FutureDerm, Velocity Robotics, HiberSense, VIT Initiative and AbiliLife to a series of meetings with Amazon Launchpad, Microsoft and a meetup with Ably CEO Akhil Shah. Jed Wang at Amazon Launchpad introduced our entrepreneurs to the benefits and opportunities of getting their products on the platform. Launchpad is geared toward startups tapping into Amazon’s massive audiences. Wang reviewed the application process noting that any company applying must have an innovative product, funding to scale production and a strong web site/social media presence to even be considered. Also any product picked for Launchpad must not be on a crowdfunding platform. After a quick break for coffee and lunch Microsoft hosted the group at its Seattle Reactor to link up with Prashant Sharma with Microsoft for Startups. Sharma held an open back and forth dialog about how Microsoft plugs into startups offering connections for our startups into its channels and investor community. He noted that Microsoft tends to favor partnering with a company over making an an outright acquisition. No stranger to the investment ecosystem, Sharma encouraged the startups to not shy away from asking for the right level of funding. As one of Seattle's top serial entrepreneurs and CEO of clothing line Ably, Akhil Shah listened to each entrepreneur's pitch and graciously opened up his impressive book of investor and partner connections. Impressed with the diversity of startups in Pittsburgh, Shah said Pittsburgh is on his rdar. Courtney Williamson, CEO of AbiliLife, was stoked with the connections made so far on the startup mission. She synopsized each meeting: "Amazon was about leveraging partnership and accelerating growth. Microsoft told us not to be afraid to make the ask. And, Akhil was all about attitude and gratitude." A special thanks to The Webb Law Firm for sponsoring the mission. Alaska Airlines provided the flight connecting Pittsburgh to Seattle. Follow along at #PGH2Seattle. Read more about the mission here.