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Microsoft Ventures to Award $3.5 Million in Prizes to AI Startups

The competition is open to startups from North America, Europe and Israel

Hagar Ravet 16:5010.10.17

Microsoft’s investment arm Microsoft Ventures is holding a global competition for startups developing artificial intelligence technologies, the company announced Tuesday.

 

Called Innovate.AI., the competition is open to startups from North America, Europe and Israel and is held in collaboration with local investors: Seattle, Washington-based venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group, London-based early stage investor Notion Capital, and Vertex Ventures Israel, member of global venture fund network Vertex Venture Holdings.

 

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

 

 

The three chosen winners, one from each region, will receive $1 million in funding as well as half a million dollars in credit for Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud computing platform. A fourth prize of half a million in funding and the same in Azure credit will be awarded to a startup using AI for the betterment of mankind, under the category AI for Good.

 

Microsoft Ventures typically invests between Series A and D and until now was more focused on fields like cloud infrastructure, big data, security and analytics. The current competition will mark the investment arm’s expansion into the AI field.

 

Only startups yet to raise more than $4 million in equity funding and loans by the date of submission are eligible. The applicants must present a product, service or platform that uses AI technology. Submission is open today until December 31 and the 10 finalists from each region will present their technology to a panel of judges in the spring of 2018.

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