MUMBAI: M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, announced it has opened its India office in Bengaluru - the country's technology hub. The local arm will pursue investment opportunities across the region, focusing on B2B software startups in areas of applied Artificial Intelligence (AI), business applications, infrastructure, security, and vanguard technologies.
M12 invests in disruptive enterprise software startups in Series A through C funding stages, targeting local and cross-border solutions. The Bengaluru office joins an M12 network that includes San Francisco, Seattle, London, and Tel Aviv.
Last month, Mint reported that Microsoft Corp. is supposedly negotiating an investment of as much as $2 billion in billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms Ltd, the digital unit of India’s most valuable company. The companies did not confirm the story.
Abhi Kumar, India Lead for M12, said, “Typically, we see the greatest hurdles in a startup’s journey as they scale from local success to global challengers, and then again when they go on to become category leaders. Both inflection points require specific and deep organizational strength, proven talent, go-to-market partnerships, and global investors."
The deep technical and business talent from India’s top engineering schools and major R&D centers are among the primary draws to the region. M12 has been remotely investing in India since 2019 and its portfolio includes Indian startups such as Innovaccer and FarEye.
Post-investment, the startups in M12’s portfolio can elect to work with the fund’s Portfolio Development team, which is dedicated to unlocking growth opportunities.
Since its founding in 2016, M12 has invested in 90 companies. A financial- and founder-focused fund, it maintains a technology-agnostic approach to investments. The 27-member global team has decades of experience in investing, product innovation, business development, go-to-market, R&D, and entrepreneurship. M12 investors take board seats as part of their investments to provide founders with active support and engagement.
M12 (formerly known as Microsoft Ventures) also partners with several of Microsoft’s broad startup engagement programs, such as Microsoft for Startups. Microsoft also has an active business development team that engages on strategic M&A.