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Microsoft Ventures' first investments: A who's who

Microsoft Ventures has invested in 13 cloud, security and productivity startups in just over four months. Here's a list of most of them.
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Written by Mary Jo Foley, Contributor on

Microsoft created a new ventures arm just over four months ago. As of October 4, Microsoft Ventures has invested in 13 companies, officials said today.

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Microsoft and the Series A to Series D startups in which it has invested to date are not disclosing the amount Microsoft is investing in each of the companies in its portfolio. But Microsoft has created a new Microsoft ventures site listing the companies it is backing.

Here are some of those on the list and when Microsoft Ventures invested:

Aqua (September 2016): Container applications security vendor

Kahoot (September 2016): Social-learning platform vendor

CognitiveScale (August 2016): Machine-intelligence software maker. (It seems that CognitiveScale only announced the Microsoft investment today, October 4.)

Layer (July 2016): Messaging stack as a service vendor for Web/mobile apps

CrowdFlower (June 2016): Data mining and crowd sourcing company

Helpshift (June 2016): In-app customer-support platform for mobile

Outreach (June 2016): Enterprise communications platform for sales

Rescale (June 2016): Cloud platform for simulation software and high-performance computing

Comfy (June 2016): Smart building software vendor

Team8 (June 2016): Cybersecurity vendor

There are three additional companies in Microsoft Ventures portfolio which haven't been announced yet, officials said. Several of those on the list above were only disclosed for the first time today at the GeekWire Summit in Seattle.

Microsoft announced its plan to create a small early-stage investment group targeting startups in the cloud, big data and analytics, productivity, security and machine learning markets at the very end of May.

The new group assumed the old "Microsoft Ventures" name. The entity formerly known as Microsoft Ventures, which was owned by the Developer Evangelism team, was rebranded to "Microsoft Accelerator."

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