Microsoft opens fund to invest in the future of AI

Microsoft Ventures has emphasised its commitment to AI with the launch of a new Microsoft Ventures fund to help support companies embracing AI.

Microsoft opens fund to invest in the future of AI

The Element AI incubator and platform will be the fund’s first investment. The Montreal-based company comprises academic researchers that work with research labs across the US to develop innovative technologies for enterprises.

“We all know ‘you’re only as good as your tools’ and now Element AI is getting supercharged with Microsoft Ventures,” said Element AI CEO Jean-Francois Gagne.

“Along with a strategic investment that is a real vote of confidence for Element AI, Microsoft is giving us the tools and services which will help our AI network achieve scale, which will undoubtedly create new technologies that help tackle some of the world’s biggest problems.”

Microsoft explained its Microsoft Ventures fund has already invested in 19 startups, including i3 Equity Partners, Zipwhip, Paxata, xAd, Dynamic Signal and Tact to bring new innovations to market.

“Microsoft Ventures expands our original mandate of supporting cloud companies that help enterprises navigate digital transformation,” said Nagraj Kashyap, managing director of Microsoft Ventures.

“This new fund will make investments of similar size to previous Microsoft Ventures investments, and will only include businesses with promise for strong financial returns (as opposed to non-profits or NGOs). We expect our overall pace of investments will accelerate.”

Kashyap said Microsoft will continue to hunt for new companies that fit the bill and are actively developing solutions that fit Microsoft’s AI principles, including building technologies that assist humanity, transparency, maximising efficiency without destroying human dignity, providing intelligent privacy and accountability for the unexpected and being guarded against biases.

“AI holds great promise to augment human capabilities and improve society by tackling some of the world’s biggest problems,” Kashyap added.

“Our recently announced partnership with OpenAI is a key example of us working to use AI to address important issues such as climate change, inequality, health and education.”

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