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Microsoft’s M12 Announces $6 Mn Seed Stage Startup Challenge For Women Founders

Microsoft’s M12 Announces $6 Mn Seed Stage Startup Challenge For Women Founders

The Application are open till December 15, 2019

20 women-led startups will be announced for the event in March 18-19, 2020

Four winners will win a venture funding of $6 Mn in total

Microsoft’s venture fund M12, in collaboration with investment firms Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures, on October 17, announced its second global Female Founders Competition to accelerate funding for women entrepreneurs developing B2B, SaaS and deeptech solutions.

Four winners, which will be announced in April 2020, will get a total of $6 Mn in venture funding. Two startups will be shortlisted from the US, whereas two will be selected from the other countries. Two startups working in SaaS will get funding $2M each. Meanwhile, two deeptech startups will win $1 Mn each.

“The tech industry can’t afford to keep leaving women’s good ideas on the table. We need to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs, and together with Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures, we aim to do just that with our second Female Founders Competition,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft Corp.

The competition is open to women-led B2B seed-stage tech startups from United States, Europe, Israel and India. The applications are open for enterprise SaaS or deeptech startups till December 15, 2019. The finalists for the M12 fund will be announced in March 2020.

The submissions will be judged by a panel of investors from M12, Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures and only 20 startups will be shortlisted for the final event to be held in Silicon Valley, California on March 18 and 19, 2020.


  • At least one founder of the company should identify as female
  • The company should offer or intend to release a product, services or platform that solves a critical business problem
  • The startup should not have raised more than $5 Mn funding, in debit or equity.

The winners will also get to mentored by the three organisers as part of the acceleration efforts, Navin Chaddha, managing director of Mayfield, said.

The previous Female Founders Competition was announced in November 2018, and the winners included the founder of SaaS platform ‘Acerta’ Greta Cutulenco, and founder of graphical media platform ‘Mental Canvas’ Julie Dorsey.

The M12 fund invests in enterprise software companies from Series A to Series C. M12 team is comprised of experienced VCs and Microsoft veterans who will be adding value to the company’s investment portfolio, beyond just the capital invested.

Microsoft’s M12 portfolio includes next generation technology companies spanning over big data and analytics, business SaaS, cloud infrastructure, AI/machine learning, productivity, security, and other emerging technologies.

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