Microsoft renames its Ventures unit 'M12'

Microsoft has a number of different units and programs targeting startups. One of those, Microsoft Ventures, is now known as M12.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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Microsoft is renaming its Microsoft Ventures early-stage investment group targeting startups to "M12." (The M stands for Microsoft. The 12 is for the 12 letters it takes to spell "entrepreneur," in case you were wondering.)

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M12 invests in enterprise startups and has made more than 50 investments in the past two years "in areas ranging from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence/machine learning to industrial drones and 3D printing," according to the April 30 blog post announcing the new name.

The name of Microsoft Ventures has been confusing since its inception in 2016.

(Credit: Microsoft)

When Microsoft created its Ventures group, it renamed the original "Microsoft Ventures" -- which was run by its Developer Evangelism team -- to "Microsoft Accelerator." The Accelerator was designed to aid startups with technology and consulting through Microsoft's seven accelerators worldwide. Microsoft later renamed its Microsoft Accelerators program to Microsoft ScaleUp, which is aimed at late-stage and Series A startups.

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Earlier this year, Microsoft unveiled a new program called "Microsoft for Startups," which pledged to provide $500 million to start-ups in the form of credits, tools, coselling resources and more. This program continues to operate alongside Microsoft's other startup-focused efforts.

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