Microsoft to launch Bing Fund angel investment incubator

Microsoft to launch Bing Fund angel investment incubator

Summary: Microsoft is poised to launch a new startup/accelerator incubation effort designed to bring innovation to the company's Online Services Division.

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TOPICS: Start-Ups, Microsoft
6

For the past few weeks, there've been some tweets showing up in my timeline from something called the Bing Fund.

bingfund


ZDNet (and Techie-Buzz) blogger Manan Kakkar has noticed these, too. The tweets lead to a BingFund.com Web page that tease "We're working on something fun and will have more to share soon." (Kakkar noted in one tweet, there was an indication that Microsoft would peel back the covers on the Bing fund in mid-July.)

The head of the new Bing Fund is Rahul Sood, the founder of VoodooPC (purchased by HP), who most recently was a General Manager in Microsoft's Xbox business. But as of March 2012, according to Sood's LinkedIn profile, he became General Manager of the Bing Fund, "a new program designed for entrepreneurs (and) startups in Bing."

A posting on Microsoft's own job site details Bing Fund further, describing it as "an Angel Incubator working with startups and accelerators to bring a wave of innovation to OSD" (Microsoft's Online Services Division). From that job posting:

"The Bing Fund portfolio includes startups working on the web, desktop, mobile and console. Because of the pace and variety of Bing Fund startups, the type of work (for a creative director on the Bing Fund) can vary hugely. We are looking for the whole package: someone who can go from a concept - articulating the high level concept - to driving the experience from incubation through to creation of production assets. You have demonstrated ability to effectively partner with developers and entrepreneurs to shepherd end to end experiences from concept to ship. You have knowledge of natural user interface (NUI) paradigms and have experience in designing experiences with multiple input modalities."

It doesn't seem as though the Bing Fund incubator will bar those not focusing on Microsoft technologies. From another job posting:

"Bing Fund, a small team working with startups and accelerators to bring a wave of innovation to OSD, is looking for a talented engineer with broad experience with Microsoft’s web/cloud stack (C#, ASP.NET, Azure), HTML/Javascript/jQuery, as well as one or more popular startup stacks (LAMP, Ruby on Rails, PHP, AWS, Heroku, Google App Engine etc.)."

Given the new incubator is called the Bing Fund, I wonder whether usage of Microsoft's Bing search engine is a prerequisite for Microsoft funding and support. Given that Microsoft's Bing team often promotes and funds causes and events that have basically nothing directly to do with growing Bing's usage share, I'm thinking this might not be the case.

Bing isn't the only product in OSD's line-up. Microsoft's OSD also includes MSN, adCenter, and advertiser tools. Bing and MSN generate revenues through the sale of search and display advertising. Search and display advertising accounts for nearly all of OSD's annual revenue -- yes, even in spite of the fact of the recent $6 billion write-down connected with the company's acquisition of the digital advertising vendor aQuantive.

I've asked Microsoft officials for further comment on the Bing Fund, but have yet to hear back.

Topics: Start-Ups, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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6 comments
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  • Wow

    They weren't already losing enough money?
    symbolset
  • Sounds fantastic!

    .
    P. Douglas
  • Can a developer BE and entrepreneur?

    I'm a developer and I have started a couple of small companies in the past. I currently do prototyping for others looking to create new products. I wonder if I would qualify for Bing Fund support.
    kinect_dev
    • Yes

      Of course, most entrepreneurs team up, a few go by themselves. If you have a innovative idea and you can deliver, then do it :-)
      mohamedhmansour
  • Godo that Microsoft is Incubating

    Microsoft is monolith and they should invest in good emerging companies if they want to be seen as an R&D company.

    Innovation is the key for startups in any competitive market. There is no dearth of innovations. I noticed two new mobile tech companies in just last week - MobiPixie and RapidProtect. MobiPixie a new mobile photo based social networking application and platform. Their website is MobiPixie dot com. They look good to me and looks like they can become real big. Rapid Protect at rapidprotect dot net is in family collaboration space. These are kind of new tech that Microsoft or RIM or Nokia should be looking to partner with..
    brijesh_kumar@...
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