Microsoft, the company that played a pivotal role in normalizing the concept of a “Home PC” and has always pushed for advancements in technology, announced its venture fund M12 in 2016. However, up until now, it had been absent from one of the most lucrative markets in the technological sphere, India. While it did make a few passive investments, the company did not have a direct presence. That is, until today.
Now, the company has announced a new office in Bangalore, the silicon valley of India, and will look for promising investments in the sectors of applied AI, business applications, infrastructure, and security among others. This comes after Microsoft had announced in January that it will be expanding the M12 services to India.
India will now join the existing network of the fund, which operates offices in San Francisco, Seattle, London, and Tel Aviv.
M12 has already been investing in companies with Indian portfolios from far away, like Innovaccer and FarEye. Moreover, the fund hosted a marquee summit in Bengaluru to share thought leadership in technology trends with influential leaders from startups and venture capital funds in 2019. However, this will be the first time the company is getting up close and personal with the Indian startup ecosystem and says that it plans on pursuing a “long-term commitment.”
“The deep technical and business talent from India’s world-class engineering schools and major R&D centers are among the primary draws to the region.”
Abhi Kumar, India Lead for M12, said: “Typically, we see the greatest hurdles in a startup’s journey as they scale from local success to global challengers, and then again when they go on to become category leaders. Both inflection points require specific and deep organizational strength, proven talent, GTM partnerships, and global investors. M12 is proud to be co-located in the region, and to bring experience and resources that will help startups successfully navigate these inflection points.”
Ever since its launch, M12 has participated in 90 companies while maintaining a technology-agnostic approach to investments. “The 27-member global team has decades of experience in investing, product innovation, business development, go-to-market, R&D, and entrepreneurship. M12 investors take board seats as part of their investments to provide founders with active support and engagement,” the announcement from the company read.
Money isn’t the only thing M12 can provide for its partnering companies. “Post-investment, the startups in M12’s portfolio can elect to work with the fund’s Portfolio Development team, which is dedicated to unlocking growth opportunities.” Companies will also be supported ” through connections to Microsoft’s go-to-market resources, access to Microsoft technology and internal thought leaders, co-marketing opportunities, and engagement with engineering teams to explore product integrations.”
The fund has invested in numerous startups, but has its scope limited to companies in the Series A through C funding stages.