Microsoft Launches Investment Fund for Cloud Startups

Focusing on infrastructure, business SaaS, augmented reality, security and more.

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

May 31, 2016

1 Min Read
Microsoft Launches Investment Fund for Cloud Startups

Microsoft has launched a new venture fund designed to kick-start cloud technologies for early-stage startups.

Previously, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) did a lot of investing, but not much in the early stage. The new investment arm gives Microsoft a voice in the very beginnings of disruptive technologies, Nagrav Kashyap, corporate VP of Microsoft Ventures, said in a blog post announcing the project Monday.

The group, called Microsoft Ventures, is headed up by Kashyap, formerly head of Qualcomm Ventures, who joined Microsoft in January, and fellow Qualcomm veteran Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president of business development. Kashyap envisions Microsoft Ventures as being "somewhere in the middle," between Microsoft Accelerator, where "we help early stage companies with tools, technology and consulting" and, on the other end, Microsoft's "larger investments and acquisitions."

Microsoft Ventures is starting in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, New York City and Tel Aviv, and will expand into other geographies in coming years, Kashyap says.

What will Microsoft Ventures focus on? Kashyap says:

"Companies developing product and services that complement Azure infrastructure, building new business SaaS applications, promoting more personal computing by enriching the Windows and HoloLens [augmented reality] ecosystems, new disruptive enterprise, consumer productivity and communication products around Office 365 are interesting areas from an investment perspective."

The investment unit will also focus on machine learning and security.

Microsoft Ventures takes its name from a previous unit that was part of Microsoft's developer evangelism group, which is now known as Microsoft Accelerator.

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud.

About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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