The investment fund will be led by Nagraj Kashyap, the former head of Qualcomm Ventures.
Microsoft has formalized many of its investment arms into a corporate venture fund, Microsoft Ventures, that will invest in early-stage startups that complement Microsoft technology.
The new fund will be headed by Nagraj Kashyap, the former head of Qualcomm Ventures, who joined Microsoft in January. It will be part of the business-development team under former Qualcomm executive Peggy Johnson.
Microsoft Ventures will focus on startup technologies that work with the company’s Azure cloud platform as more companies move operations to the cloud. The fund will also invest in machine learning and security startups, and in companies that make technology that works with Microsoft’s other products.
Kashyap outlined early plans for the fund in a blog post Monday, noting Microsoft has not historically had a big presence investing in young startups.
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“Because we would often invest alongside commercial deals, we were not a part of the early industry conversations on disruptive technology trends,” Kashyap wrote. “With a formalized venture fund, Microsoft now has a seat at the table.”
The Redmond company does have a four-month accelerator program that helps startups in a specific industry have access to resources and mentors.
Microsoft Ventures does not have a specific investment goal in mind for the year, but will keep up “steady activity” throughout the year, Kashyap said.
The fund will begin with a presence in Seattle, the Bay Area, New York and Tel Aviv, Israel.