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Microsoft Launches New "Microsoft Ventures" Accelerator Initiative

Just don't call it a venture capital fund: Microsoft Ventures is Redmond's new seed funding, mentorship, and accelerator service for worthy startups.

Microsoft announced the launch of its new seed fund and accelerator effort, Microsoft Ventures. The newly created project will offer mentorship, technology guidance, seed funding, and joint selling opportunities to worthy startups. In a blog post, Rahul Sood of Microsoft Startups said, "By unifying our various efforts, we will give entrepreneurs a single point of entry to engage with Microsoft. Startups have enough to worry about. We want to make access to us as intuitive and friction-free as possible. And for promising startups focused on enterprise, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to help in ways very few can match."

As Sood's statement indicates, Microsoft Ventures brings together under one roof several preexisting Redmond-based startup projects. Microsoft Ventures will absorb the Bing Fund incubator, the BizSpark program, and Microsoft's preexisting Microsoft Accelerator in Seattle.

Reading between the lines of Microsoft's announcement, it seems evident that Microsoft Ventures is aiming at international startups. A series of new accelerators attached to Microsoft Ventures will be located not in the United States, but in Germany, Russia, and Brazil. They will join several other international accelerators Microsoft already operates in India, China, the United States, Israel, and France.