With its developer conference starting today, Microsoft's in for a big week, and the company decided to kick off Build with a huge announcement. Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled plans for an startup support program it's calling Microsoft Ventures.
Redmond describes Microsoft Ventures as a 'coordinated global effort' to help entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground and it includes the company's BizSpark program, Microsoft Ventures Accelerators, and Seed Funding from Microsoft Ventures. BizSpark offers free and discounted access to Microsoft products, while the Ventures Accelorators are immersive 3-6 month accelerator programs that provide access to business mentors, technical and design experts, development tools and other key resources. Seed Funding from Microsoft Ventures is an evolution of the Bing Fund. Microsoft is promising additional funding for even more startups.
"We know that the barriers to turn an idea into a business have never been lower," said Microsoft's Rahul Sood. "At the same time, entrepreneurs at any maturity level still need a lot of assistance, and there are more resources than ever available to help them."
Sood joined Microsoft in 2010 and launched Microsoft's Bing Fund in March of last year. Prior to working at Microsoft, he worked as CTO for HP's Global Gaming Business. Sood moved to Hewlett Packard after the company bought Voodoo PC, which Sood founded in the early 90s.