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Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) said its Microsoft Ventures name is moving to the venture capital arm of the company, currently investing in technology companies (Series A and beyond) in North America and Israel. “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,” said Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president, Microsoft Ventures. Kashyap joined the VC arm of Microsoft in late January 2016, after spending 12 years leading Qualcomm Ventures, where his investments included Brain Corp., Sotera Wireless, Magic Leap, Airvana, Avaak, Bitfone (acquired by HP), Clicker (acquired by CBS), Gaikai (acquired by Sony) and Novarra (acquired by Nokia). Microsoft Ventures (MSV) will focus on start-up investments, while Microsoft Accelerator will focus on startup enablement, primarily through its seven accelerators around the world. The Microsoft Ventures name was assumed from an existing team within Microsoft’s Developer Evangelism team. That team has now been re-branded as Microsoft Accelerator. “In Microsoft’s history of engaging with and supporting start-ups, we’ve done a lot of investing, but not a lot of early stage. Because we would often invest alongside commercial deals, we were not a part of the early industry conversations on disruptive technology trends,” commented Kashyap. “With a formalized venture fund, Microsoft now has a seat at the table.” “Going forward, this will help us identify and harness those trends as early as possible. To ensure we capitalize on these opportunities, Peggy Johnson and I have created a new team called Microsoft Ventures, a small but nimble team focused on building and extending our muscle of investing with impact,” he added. Margaret L. (Peggy) Johnson, who joined Microsoft in August 2014 as EVP of business development, reports to CEO Satya Nadella. Johnson previously spent 24 years at Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM), where she served as a member of its Executive Committee, executive vice president of Qualcomm Technologies, and president of global market development. [caption id="attachment_432166" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President of Business Development, Microsoft. Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President of Business Development, Microsoft.[/caption] Johnson is responsible for driving strategic partnerships and transactions to accelerate growth. “She works with external partners around the world, ranging from startups to large-scale enterprises, to identify areas of collaboration, drive innovation and unlock shared value,” says the company. In this capacity, she also manages Microsoft’s relationship with the venture capital community and oversees strategic investments through the company’s corporate venture fund, Microsoft Ventures. “As with the rest of the Business Development team at Microsoft, our view is outward into the market — we focus on the inorganic growth of Microsoft, looking at where we can provide a step function, versus incremental progress,” concluded Kashyap. Given that the move to the cloud remains the single largest priority for the industry, identifying the bleeding-edge companies which complement and leverage the transition to the cloud is key to MSV’s investment thesis. From an investment perspective, MSV is planning to focus on 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. MSV is also said to be looking for companies developing technologies in the areas of machine learning and security. Microsoft Corp. was founded in 1975 and is based in Redmond, Washington. The company has 118,000 employees worldwide and a market capitalization of $410.75 billion.]]>