Microsoft has rebranded its Ventures group into a startup-focused initiative.
(CCM) — On Monday, Microsoft announced the creation of a new early-stage investment group that will focus on startups in the cloud, security, and machine-learning markets. This new group will appropriate the Microsoft Ventures name, while the previous Microsoft Ventures entity, owned by the Developer Evangelism team, will be renamed Microsoft Accelerator. In a blog post on the changes, Nagraj Kashyap, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Ventures, said, "On one side of the spectrum, we help early stage companies with tools, technology, and consulting through Microsoft Accelerator. And at the other end is where you’ll typically see our larger investments and acquisitions. Microsoft Ventures now fills a gap we’ve had somewhere in the middle of that range." Microsoft Ventures is not planning to hit a specific number of investments annually, but hopes to have "steady activity over the course of the year" in the cloud, security, and machine-learning markets.
"In Microsoft's history of engaging with and supporting start-ups, we’ve done a lot of investing, but not a lot of early stage," explained Kashyap. "Because we would often invest alongside commercial deals, we were not a part of the early industry conversations on disruptive technology trends." Now, with the launch of this "formalized venture fund," the company will be able to embrace early stage companies and capitalize on these opportunities. Microsoft Ventures will start with a presence in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, New York City, and Tel Aviv, with expansion to more major markets in the coming years.
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