Microsoft announced Microsoft Ventures today. A combination of several initiatives that already exist, but now brought together under one umbrella. According to their blog, Microsoft’s existing programs will continue to propel entrepreneurship forward, namely the BizSpark program and their accelerators.
BizSpark will offer those looking to get a step up free, or ‘reduced-cost,’ pricing to Microsoft’s software and long list of services. The Microsoft Ventures Accelerators is an intensive 3-6 month program where entrepreneurs can find the “usiness potential of their ideas.” However, Canada is not yet on the list of locations, currently only in Bangalore, Beijing, Paris, Seattle and Tel-Aviv, plus expansion plans are heading toward Berlin, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro.
Microsoft also noted that they are “evolving the Bing Fund” by adding additional funding to support more startups. The company specifically listed that funding could go to those in enterprise software, big data, security, artificial intelligence, advertising, gaming, SaaS and cloud services.
Rahul Sood, general manager of Microsoft Startups, said “By unifying our various efforts, we will give entrepreneurs a single point of entry to engage with Microsoft. Startups have enough to worry about. We want to make access to us as intuitive and friction-free as possible.”