Microsoft has consolidated its entrepreneur outreach and support activities under a new entity called Microsoft Ventures, the company announced on its blog yesterday. The entity will be the umbrella organization for all its programmes including BizSpark, startup accelerators in five global locations, a seed fund (formerly known as the Bing Fund) and a community evangelism programme.
“Today, Microsoft is announcing the creation of Microsoft Ventures, a coordinated global effort that offers the tools, resources, expertise and routes to market by providing mentorship, technology guidance, seed funding, joint selling opportunities and other benefits.
By unifying our various efforts, we will give entrepreneurs a single point of entry to engage with Microsoft. Startups have enough to worry about. We want to make access to us as intuitive and friction-free as possible.”
The Redmond, Washington-headquartered company started working with startups in 2008 through its BizSpark programme. More the 75,000 startups from over 100 countries have received access to tools and resources through the programme. It launched its accelerator programmes two years ago and currently runs five in Bangalore, Beijing, Paris, Seattle and Tel-Aviv. Three new accelerators are planned in Berlin, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro shortly.
Since the launch of its accelerator programme, 114 startups have graduated globally. Startups which participated in the company’s Bangalore accelerator include Adepto, Amplyfy.me, SupportBee, Table Grabber, NowFloats, Game Izon, Plustxt, Hire Rabbit and Idos.
Last year, it launched the Bing Fund to make seed investments. The company says that it is “evolving the Bing Fund by adding additional funding”. The fund’s sectors or interest for investment include enterprise software, big data, security, artificial intelligence, advertising, gaming, SaaS and cloud services.