Microsoft Ventures, the tech giant’s venture capital investment arm, is now M12.
The “M” in the name stands for Microsoft, and 12 stands for the 12 letters in the word entrepreneur, Corporate Vice President and Global Head of Early Stage Investments Nagraj Kashyap, wrote in a blog post announcing the new name. Microsoft Ventures used to be the name of the company’s startup accelerator team before the investment group adopted the name. The change is to provide clarity between the investment arm and accelerator program, now called Microsoft ScaleUp.
M12, under the Microsoft Ventures flag, formed in 2016 and has since made more than 50 investments in areas that align with Microsoft’s vision like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence/machine learning, industrial drones and 3D printing. The organization is made up of venture capital investors and Microsoft veterans based in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, London and Tel Aviv, Israel. It has participated in rounds led by global venture capital firms and served as a lead investor at times.
Microsoft previously took a less structured approach to investing in startups, in contrast with other tech companies such as Intel and Google, which have their own formalized venture programs. Other than the new name, Kashyap writes that nothing else will change at M12.
“Our goal remains the same as ever: we want to be the most sought-after investor for entrepreneurs driving digital transformation,” Kashyap wrote. “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.”