Four months after Microsoft relaunched Microsoft Ventures as a formalized venture fund, the company’s new VC arm has announced yesterday that it has already invested in 13 startups working in several B2B industries. Additionally, a new Microsoft Ventures website has also been launched to give more details about the companies that have been backed by the technology giant so far. Nagraj Kashyap, Microsoft Ventures Corporate Vice President explained:
Our new website highlights our portfolio, where you can learn more about the promising technologies we’re betting on to disrupt how business is done today. In the world of business SaaS, we’ve invested in Helpshift and Outreach . In cloud infrastructure, we’ve invested in Rescale. In productivity and communications, we’ve invested in three companies – Comfy, Layer and Kahoot in the world of education. In machine learning, we’ve invested in CrowdFlower and more recently, CognitiveScale. And in security, we’ve invested in Aqua Security and Team8.
If you made the count, that’s only 10 companies but Geekwire reports that the three remaining startups have yet to publicly announce their funding rounds. Speaking at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle yesterday, Microsoft’s executive vice president of business development Peggy Johnson shared that Microsoft Ventures is currently focused on startups working on machine learning and artificial intelligence. "That’s one of the pillars of our strategy, infusing AI. It’s the infusion of AI into everyday services that I’m really excited about," she explained.
Additionally, the former Qualcomm exec told Geekwire that Microsoft’s new venture capital arm has helped the company build more connections with Silicon Valley companies working on the next big thing. "Before, we might have had the ad-hoc discussions, but now we’re actually in the deal flow. We get to see these technologies," she added.