Microsoft has changed the name of its venture capital fund two years after its official launch. Microsoft Ventures, as the fund was called, has now rebranded itself as M12. Microsoft Ventures was used as an overarching term for Microsoft’s accelerator programmes and a few seed-funding initiatives but was renamed Microsoft ScaleUp when Microsoft’s VC arm came up. The funding arm, like any other VC firm, takes equity in startups it invests in.
In a statement, Microsoft itself announced the change.
“Today, Microsoft Ventures becomes M12. We’re proud of the team and portfolio we’ve built, and are excited to introduce this new name as an affirmation of our strategy: we invest in the best enterprise startups; we align with our founders by measuring ourselves on financial return; we leverage some of the best enterprise assets in the world to add value above and beyond our invested capital. We are a different kind of corporate VC – one that works at the speed of our entrepreneurs with the financial backing and resources of Microsoft.”
M12 has, in the last two years, made over 50 investments ranging from ML to 3D printing to AI and cybersecurity and industrial drones. Microsoft’s portfolio companies have access to the company’s strategic assets and Microsoft also helps them leverage all of its resources.
Microsoft shared why it is changing its name. “M12 is a promise to innovators. M is a reminder that we have the full power of Microsoft behind us. And 12 represents the centre of our universe: E-N-T-R-E-P-R-E-N-E-U-R.”
The statement also states that the name change gives Microsoft an opportunity to be clear about how they work with startups – they invest in startups in exchange for equity.
“Fundamentally though, our goal remains the same as ever: we want to be the most sought-after investor for entrepreneurs driving digital transformation. We’ll continue to do this by connecting the most innovative startups out there with Microsoft’s executives, business unit leaders, individual engineers, and salespeople, who work with our companies as we build the next generation of technology – together.”