Could the next Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest emerge from the Bing Fund? Microsoft hopes so. Officially announced late last week, Microsoft’s new “angel fund with an incubator program” is “founded by entrepreneurs, sponsored by Bing, and backed by the experience, expertise, and resources of Microsoft.”
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US-based early-stage companies will get an opportunity to work with Microsoft for about four months, and will receive funding through a convertible note (a loan that converts into equity), special access to Microsoft technology, support from Microsoft engineers and marketers, and introductions to investors.
Microsoft has official presences in emerging market countries around the world and it will be interesting to see if the Bing Fund expands if proven successful. Google has a head start in Africa with its Umbono programme.
The Bing Fund is looking for:
- Startups that are building online or mobile experiences that incorporate fresh insights.
- Startups with both inspirational vision and ability to execute
- A working prototype, preferably a site or application that is already live (i.e. people can sign up to use it) and gaining momentum
- A compelling plan that describes the problem being solved, a general idea of the market potential/competitive landscape, and unique market advantages
Microsoft is opening up a co-workspace in Bellevue Washington, where startups have access to the Bing Fund team which includes interesting people like Rahul Sood, the founder of VooDoo PC.