Microsoft Launches New Effort to Bolster Its Startup Support
The Redmond, Wash.-based software company announced Microsoft Ventures, an umbrella organization for its various entrepreneurship resources, according to a statement from Rahul Sood, the general manager of Microsoft Startups, on the official Microsoft blog. Microsoft has already provided software tools and resources to 75,000 startups since 2008 through its Biz Spark program and graduated more than 100 startups from its accelerator programs. The new effort will unify and bolster Microsoft’s mentorship, technology guidance, seed funding and joint selling opportunities to startups.
“Startups have enough to worry about,” Sood says. “We want to make access to us as intuitive and friction-free as possible.”
Microsoft Ventures will take a "holistic approach," as a three-channel, global support system for startups including a seed fund, a handful of accelerator programs and a community of local experts. Microsoft will open new accelerators in Berlin, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro, adding to its existing programs in Bangalore, Beijing, Paris, Seattle and Tel-Aviv, says Sood. Also, the seed funding Bing Fund will grow, allowing Microsoft to provide early-stage funding to more startups.
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.