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Microsoft Launches New Effort to Bolster Its Startup Support The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant introduces Microsoft Ventures, bringing together its resources for entrepreneurs.

By Catherine Clifford

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Tech-behemoth Microsoft is making a move to be more startup friendly.

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.

Related: New York University's Accelerator is Looking to Jump Start 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.

Related: Microsoft and Oracle Join Forces Against Smaller Rivals in Cloud

Catherine Clifford

Frequently covers crowdfunding, the sharing economy and social entrepreneurship.

Catherine Clifford is a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Catherine attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Email her at CClifford@entrepreneur.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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