When a company finds a stellar employee, it will try almost anything to keep or re-hire them and Microsoft is no exception.

Tzahi ‘Zack’ Weisfeld, general manager of Microsoft Ventures’ global accelerator programme in Bangalore, Beijing, Tel-Aviv, Berlin, London, Paris and Seattle, has now been back at Microsoft for his third, and longest, stint.

The co-founder of Microsoft Ventures in 2013, Weisfeld is a serial entrepreneur, having co-founded Sequoia-backed Mintigo and been vice-president of marketing and strategy at Modu, the Israel-based personal communications startup that raised $120m and whose intellectual property was sold to Google. His earlier roles included setting up Microsoft’s strategic R&D centre in Israel for a year from mid-2006 and co-founding its MSN internet portal in the country in the late 1990s.

After such long and sustained success, he was named one of the top 10 most influential Israelis in worldwide technology by news provider Business Insider in May 2014.

Scott Coleman, general manager of Microsoft Ventures, said: “Zack has built a world-class global accelerator programme that has identified and grown great startups into significant companies, is a thought-leader in promoting startup ecosystems globally, and has connected Microsoft to the emerging tech community around the world.”

In turn, Weisfeld recognises the opportunities that come from working for the very apotheosis of a software provider. “There are only a few companies around the world that can make such a big difference and impact on startups.

“Building one of the top corporate accelerators in the world is my greatest achievement. We have been building a programme that is based on doing good, helping startups achieve more, while helping Microsoft achieve growth.”

Microsoft Ventures has won prizes for being the number one acceleration programme in China, India and Israel, with 410 startups graduating and 82% of them raising an aggregate $1.2bn in follow-on funding and 27 already having exited.

There were many detractors in the early days. Weisfeld, who had spent three years as senior director of strategy and business at Microsoft before setting up the ventures arm, said: “
Internally and externally, many people questioned why would we build such a programme. They also questioned our ability to be successful with such an entrepreneur-first programme. Industry influencers were questioning our motives as we started.”

He said Microsoft’s ability to be a trusted adviser to startups and put them first came from avoiding acting in the same ways “as any other internal rate of return-driven fund.

“The corporate should have long-term strategic goals that include building a proper ecosystem brand equity.”

Acting the part for success suits Weisfeld, who is also on the board of Nissan Nativ, the leading acting academy in Israel. He said: “Every successful entrepreneur should be able to act, perform on stage and improvise constantly.”