Microsoft is looking to increase its investment in promising startups by establishing Microsoft Ventures, a corporate group led by Nagraj Kashyap, the former head of Qualcomm Ventures.
MV does not have a specific target number of annual investments, or a set budget, but the company says it will focus its attention on “those that aim to disrupt how business is done today.”
A new name
The name Microsoft Ventures may sound familiar because Microsoft already operated a group with such title, which brought together various funding and incubator-focused initiatives like BizSpark, Microsoft Reactor, and the Bing Fund. That group will now be renamed Microsoft Accelerator, and will focus on start-up enablement, mainly through the company’s seven incubators that are spread around the world.
So, while Microsoft Accelerator will look towards helping early stage companies with tools and technology, and Microsoft-proper will be involved in late stage investments and acquisitions, the new Microsoft Ventures will invest in start-ups. Currently, MV plans to support companies in the SF/Bay area, as well as in Seattle, New York City and Tel Aviv, with further regions expected in the coming years.
“Given that the move to the cloud remains the single largest priority for the industry, identifying the bleeding-edge companies who complement and leverage the transition to the cloud is key to our investment thesis. Companies developing product and services that complement Azure infrastructure, building new business SaaS applications, promoting more personal computing by enriching the Windows and HoloLens ecosystems, new disruptive enterprise, consumer productivity, and communication products around Office 365 are interesting areas from an investment perspective,” said Kashyap.
“On a more horizontal axis, you should expect to see us invest in companies who are doing work in the areas for machine learning and security.”
Kashyap also hinted that we should expect to see funding announcements by companies involved with Microsoft Ventures in the coming days and weeks.