Just last week Microsoft Ventures announced a new collaboration with Madrona Venture Group, Norton Capital, and Vertex Ventures Israel that’s all set to award $3.5m in venture funding and $2m in Azure credits to winners in a new global competition called Innovate.AI. The aim of the competition is to uncover emerging AI startups in an attempt to progress the growing field.
Any startup that’s interested should submit their entry via Microsoft Venture’s website for a chance to win one of four big prizes. The prize fund is being split into regions (North America, Europe, and Israel) with each one being awarded $1m in venture funding and $500k in Azure credits. The remaining fourth prize will be awarded to the applicant that has the best AI that will somehow better society.
“At Microsoft, the future is rooted in the advancement of AI technologies,” said Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president and global head of Microsoft Ventures. “We’re excited to launch this competition with a string group of venture capitalists that recognizes the importance of leveraging these technologies to amplify human ingenuity and power innovation in AI forward.”
One of Microsoft’s core principles is making AI more accessible to everyone across the globe. By putting their focus into companies that are already exploring the benefits of AI, Microsoft Ventures is helping to push forward this avenue of technology and help solve some of society’s biggest challenges.
“Startups are already able to create significant businesses based on AI at the platform and application levels,” said managing director of Madrona Venture Group, S. Somasegar. “Now that they are leveraging emerging AI platforms, opportunities are increasing to create not only a great business, but one that has a strong and positive impact on society. As partners with our companies, we work every day to foster the kind of innovation that will change lives, and we are excited to work with Microsoft Ventures to identify passionate founders and teams that will build the next generation of intelligent applications.”
The competition will be accepting submissions right up until December 31st 2017. Companies that have risen that $4m in equity funding or loans in Europe (EU), Israel, or North America (Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.) will be eligible to apply provided they offer a product, platform, or service that uses or will use AI in its application. Winners of the competition may also benefit from potential funding opportunities from regional VC partners.
Original source Microsoft