Business planning, Local

Microsoft ramps up start-up efforts with Bing Fund

Michelle Hammond /

Global tech giant Microsoft is in the process of launching an angel investment incubator dubbed the Bing Fund, only months after launching the Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre.

 

There’s no official word from Microsoft on the Bing Fund, but a Twitter account titled @bingfund was set up late last month. Tweets include “bing fund is coming”.

 

There’s also a placeholder website at BingFund.com, which says “thanks for stopping by” and promises more information “soon”.

 

The head of the Bing Fund is Rahul Sood, founder of VoodooPC – acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2006 – and a former general manager for Microsoft’s Xbox.

 

“I recently transitioned from Xbox to Bing so I could create a new program designed for entrepreneurs and start-ups,” Sood says on his LinkedIn profile.

 

Meanwhile, a posting on Microsoft’s job site describes the Bing Fund as an angel incubator working with start-ups and accelerators to bring “a wave of innovation” to OSD.

 

OSD refers to Microsoft’s Online Services Division. According to the job description, the Bing Fund portfolio includes start-ups working on the web, desktop, mobile and console.

 

“Because of the pace and variety of Bing Fund start-ups, the type of work can vary hugely,” Microsoft said.

 

“We are looking for… 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’s currently unknown whether start-ups will be required to integrate Microsoft’s Bing search and map service in their products, or whether the fund will extend to Australian start-ups.

 

An official announcement is tipped to happen later this month.

 

The news comes less than two months after Microsoft launched the Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre, which aims to assist in the establishment of 100 start-ups over three years.

 

The centre builds on Microsoft’s BizSpark program.

 

It is focused on accelerating the growth of SMEs, start-ups and student entrepreneurs, with a focus on three key areas: skills, business development and connection to industry.

 

Sharon Schoenborn, Microsoft Australia state director for Queensland and the Northern Territory, said the centre reflects Microsoft’s commitment to promoting innovation and growth.

 

“The launch of the Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre will help bridge some of the current gaps for start-ups in their journey to success by… inspiring them to innovate,” Schoenborn said in a statement.

 

“The centre will act as a hub of innovation for start-ups, partners, developers and students to exchange ideas, build on each other’s strengths and translate those assets into greater… success.”

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