Microsoft to launch its own angel fund

2012-07-13 22:35
Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer. The company has promised to make a \major\ announcement that started the internet buzzing with talk that it would involve taking on Apple iPad with tablets running on Windows software. (File, AFP)

Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer. The company has promised to make a \major\ announcement that started the internet buzzing with talk that it would involve taking on Apple iPad with tablets running on Windows software. (File, AFP)

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San Francisco - Microsoft has launched an investment fund looking to give start-ups the cash to originate "game-changing ideas" in the tech sector.

The company announced on Thursday that its Bing Fund would be "an angel fund with an incubator program, founded by entrepreneurs... and backed by the experience, expertise, and resources of Microsoft".

"We want to partner with like-minded entrepreneurs - great talent that is innovating online to solve big problems and create amazing new experiences," a company blog said.

The move comes as Microsoft, which remains the dominant player for desktop computer operating software, has lagged in other areas as companies like Apple, Google and Facebook expand their offerings.

"Where other people see merely interesting ideas, entrepreneurs see possibilities for making the world work better," the company said.

Entrepreneurial spirit

"Many talented people come up with game-changing ideas, but it takes an entrepreneurial spirit to stare down the words 'it can't be done' and make innovation real."

The statement posted on the blog of Bing, the Microsoft search engine, said it was "inviting promising start-ups based in the US to work with us for at least four months."

It said some of the things the fund was seeking include "building online or mobile experiences that incorporate fresh insights".

"We want start-ups with both inspirational vision and ability to execute," the statement said.

This may include a working prototype, website or application that is already operating and gaining momentum, or a "compelling plan".

Those selected will get subsidised usage of technical data from Bing and Microsoft Research, and some assistance on technical issues.

The investment will come in the form of a convertible note, and Microsoft will also make introductions to other "strategic investors".

"Your IP [intellectual property] and product, of course, remain yours, even if we give input and assistance," the statement said.

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