By Brett Laffel

On Thursday, January 19, Microsoft will play host to the Founder Institute’s Founder Showcase. This one will be extra special. For the first time, the event will feature TheFunded.com’s Entrepreneur Investor Awards, where Founder Institute will celebrate the top startup investors of 2011, and discuss the prospects of 2012 through a series of on-stage discussions with renowned angels and VCs, including Mark Suster, General Partner at GRP Ventures, Mike Maples, Jr., Managing Partner at FLOODGATE, and Dave McClure, Founder Partner at 500 Startups. Guests will also see an entertaining Pitch Competition featuring 8 promising seed-stage companies. We’ll also have appetizers and drinks in a networking hall where a number of other hot startups will be demoing their companies in a Demo Table Competition. Eager entrepreneurs and networkers take note: we are expecting over 150 startup investors in attendance!

In addition, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of the Strategic and Emerging Business Team, Dan’l Lewin, will be in attendance and he will be there to talk to startups. Our General Manager of the Developer and Platform Evangelism team, Matt Thompson, will also be there for the event. I’ll be there (proud member of the BizSpark team!) as well. Want to talk to me about your startup? Learn more about the BizSpark program and how Microsoft can help your company? Come find me at the BizSpark table or tweet me @BrettLaffel to meet up.

Founder Showcase is a quarterly startup pitch and networking event that gathers approximately 500 top technology CEOs, investors, and early-stage companies in Silicon Valley for one action-packed day to hear talks from leading CEOs, and help launch promising startup companies to greatness. Founder Institute is a global network of startups and mentors launching hundreds of technology companies per year. There are Founder Institute locations across the globe. Microsoft partners with Founder Institute in a number of these locations in our continual efforts to support startup founders all over the world. Our goal in doing so is to serve as great partners to the startup community and to foster a strong startup ecosystem worldwide whereby entrepreneurs have the resources available to grow their companies into long-lasting flourishing corporations.

Questions? Contact Brett Laffel at Brett.Laffel@microsoft.com

I look forward to seeing you there!