Microsoft’s venture arm on Tuesday announced new startup investments as part of its inaugural Innovate.AI competition.
Announced this past October by Microsoft and three venture capital firms, Innovate.AI invited companies building AI-related technology to compete for venture funding and Microsoft Azure credits.
Three regional winners from North America, Europe, and Israel — and another “AI for Good” champion — won a combined $3.5 million in venture funding from M12 (previously known as Microsoft Ventures), Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group, London-based Notion Capital, and Vertex Ventures Israel. They also took home $2 million in Azure credits.
The competition is an efficient way for Microsoft to find up-and-coming AI companies beyond its typical bandwidth, while also giving entrepreneurs a chance to land funding. It’s also another sign of Microsoft’s continued investment in AI-related technologies.
“For more than 25 years, Microsoft has worked to advance transformative power of AI, believing in its ability to accelerate human ingenuity and solve some of society’s most pressing challenges,” Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president, business development, wrote in a blog post today. “The hundreds of startups that applied to Innovate.AI make it clear that the next generation of innovators is realizing this vision in ways we never could have imagined, and we can’t wait to help drive the progress.”
Check out the winners below, along with descriptions from Microsoft.
- North America: New York-based Envisagenics integrates AI and RNA therapeutics to unlock previously inaccessible cures for hundreds of diseases caused by splicing errors.
- Europe: London-based Hazy uses AI to automate data anonymization to help businesses share data more securely.
- Israel: Tel Aviv-based ZenCity uses artificial intelligence to analyze data from conversations on social media, city hotlines and other communication channels to surface trends in real time to city officials to improve citizen’s lives.
- AI for Good: Tel Aviv-based Voiceitt builds speech recognition technology designed to understand non-standard and dysarthric speech, assisting people that suffer from diseases and disorders such as cerebral palsy, autism, stroke, ALS and Parkinson’s to communicate.