Investing in AI, an Investment in the Future

05/03/2017Nagraj Kashyap

At Microsoft, we continue to believe artificial intelligence holds the key to a new era of innovation. In the 12 months since Microsoft Ventures came into existence, my team and I have been evaluating startups creating powerful solutions that will help usher in this new era. Today, I’m excited to announce two new additions to our portfolio — Agolo and Bonsai — both of which are harnessing the power of AI to transform how we work.

Agolobased in New York, makes the world’s most advanced summarization software. By applying its summarization system to news, chat, voice and video content, Agolo enables efficient consumption of large amounts of data, increasing productivity in the workplace. The company’s AI platform can analyze thousands of documents and produce a summary of key points, specific to the user’s interests, in real time. (Fun fact: Agolo is the first company in our portfolio to have also gone through the Microsoft Accelerator program.)

Bonsai, based in Berkeley, California, is empowering enterprises to build intelligent systems. By automating the management of complex machine learning algorithms, Bonsai enables developers everywhere to take advantage of the latest advances in AI. Because of its focus on helping democratize AI, we are proud to add Bonsai to the growing portfolio within the AI fund we announced last December, which is focused on investing in companies that promote inclusive growth and positive societal impact.

With the addition of Bonsai, we now have three companies in this separate fund: Element AI, a Montreal-based company focused on developing AI-first solutions for large companies; and Mountain View, California-based Livongo, a consumer digital health company that combines the latest apps and analytics with coaching and personalized support to make diabetes management easier. It’s still early days for our AI fund, but with a plethora of amazing startups out there, I’m confident in our ability to find and support more startups that are responsibly harnessing the power and promise of AI.

It’s exciting for me that Microsoft Ventures can add to Microsoft’s long history in AI. In fact, Microsoft Research has been involved since the ‘90s! By investing in startups like Agolo and Bonsai, Microsoft Ventures is supporting Microsoft’s commitment to democratizing AI and empowering people and businesses for years to come.