There are often questions about corporate venture programs versus venture capital firms, and whether or not they are at odds or create disadvantages for entrepreneurs. In our case, we are driven by the desire to help early-stage companies take advantage of Microsoft’s financial, technical and GTM resources. While we have aspirations to have a global impact in new and different ways, we don’t believe we need a large team to do it. In fact, we feel pretty firmly that true advancement will require the efforts of many organizations within Microsoft being smart and focused on what they do best and collectively work to help startups scale.
Over the last several months, Peggy and I have worked closely with her leadership team to define what Microsoft Ventures would stand for, where we would invest in talent, what geographies we would target and where we would focus our investments. We are starting with a presence in SF/Bay area, Seattle, New York City and Tel Aviv and with the goal of expanding to other geographies in the coming years.
Given that the move to the cloud remains the single largest priority for the industry, identifying the bleeding-edge companies who complement and leverage the transition to the cloud is key to our investment thesis. Companies developing product and services that complement Azure infrastructure, building new business SaaS applications, promoting more personal computing by enriching the Windows and HoloLens ecosystems, new disruptive enterprise, consumer productivity, and communication products around Office 365 are interesting areas from an investment perspective.