Microsoft has re-branded its Ventures branch. Now called Microsoft Accelerator, the branch helps start-ups with technology and expertise. The new outfit is also diversifying its focus and will now invest in early-day start-ups, as well.
Tech start-ups can now benefit both from Microsoft’s expertise and financial support, with the tech giant focusing mainly on helping companies that activate in cloud, security and machine-learning markets. The reason for this choice is obvious: the ideas these start-ups bring to the table can be used to complement Microsoft’s cloud services and artificial intelligence apps.
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.
In addition, and 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.
Microsoft has been supporting start-ups for many years, but it did not get involved in early stage investments. The company often invested alongside commercial deals, avoiding industry conversations on disruptive technology trends. With the new Microsoft Ventures branch, the Redmond giant can now help start-ups from the very beginning.
[Engaging in the start-up ecosystem] would support not just company objectives, but our customers, partners and the ecosystem more broadly. The idea was that we would take an approach which would augment our own product and technology efforts, and enable us to place both strategic and financial bets with early stage companies.
This partnership between start-ups and Microsoft will definitely be the source of many impressive and useful improvements the tech giant will launch in the coming years.
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