Microsoft Ventures has launched a new fund for investment in AI companies focussed on inclusive growth and positive impact on the society.
Talking about the announcement, Nagraj Kashyap, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Ventures, in a blogpost said, “We’ll make investments in startups that are responsibly harnessing the promise of AI to empower people and businesses. Companies in this fund will help people and machines work together to increase access to education, teach new skills and create jobs, enhance the capabilities of existing workforces, and improve the treatment of diseases, to name just a few examples.”
With this move, Microsoft Ventures has also announced the expansion of its original mandate of supporting cloud companies that help enterprises to navigate the path of digital transformation.
This new fund will make investments of similar size to previous Microsoft Ventures investments, and will only include businesses with a promise for strong financial returns (as opposed to non-profits or NGOs).
The firm also disclosed the investments it has made in companies in the US and Israel:
- i3 Equity Partners – An investment vehicle dedicated to early-stage investments in Israeli IoT startups.
- Zipwhip – A SaaS provider that enables businesses to send and receive text messages on existing landline, VoIP and toll-free phone numbers.
- Paxata – A platform provider that enables business analysts with an enterprise-grade, self-service data preparation system.
- xAd – A location intelligence software company that helps marketers unlock opportunities in the 90%of retail transactions that are still completed offline.
- Dynamic Signal – A communications platform company that increases productivity and employee engagement with timely, relevant content across multiple channels and devices.
- Tact – A sales experience platform that transforms a salesperson’s connected device into an AI-powered smart assistant.