Microsoft has today announced a new department designed to invest into disruptive start-ups in their early phases.
The department, led by Nagraj Kashyap (corporate vice president) and executive vice president of business development Peggy Johnson, holds the name Microsoft Ventures.
This is not to be confused with the ‘old’ Microsoft Ventures. That arm, now called Microsoft Accelerator, helps start-ups with technology and expertise, but rarely cash.
Microsoft Ventures will look for early-days start-ups in cloud, security and machine-learning markets, those that can complement their Azure cloud services, among other things. Basically, Ventures will sit somewhere between the Accelerator, and larger investment and acquisition targets.
Here’s how Kashyap describes the new department in a blog post:
“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.”
At the beginning, Ventures will have offices in the San Francisco/Bay area, Seattle, New York City and Tel Aviv. The goal, ‘in the coming years’, is to expand to more markets.
According to the blog post, there isn’t a specific number of investments the company is looking to achieve on a yearly basis, but “you should expect steady activity over the course of the year”.
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