Microsoft spin-off offers USD$4 million to women entrepreneurs

Calling all women in the Start-up Nation! M12, Microsoft’s corporate venture fund, announces a new competition for female-led technology startups where two teams have the chance to each win USD$2 million in funding. The Female Founders Competition was announced via a company blog post on Thursday.

The competition is Microsoft’s attempt to feed more venture capital (VC) dollars toward “high potential” female entrepreneurs. Funding will be provided through a partnership between M12 (formerly known as Microsoft Ventures), EQT Ventures, and SVB Financial Group.

“Women make up nearly 40 percent of our investment team,” according to the blog post. “These efforts are not yet reflected in our portfolio, where only about 8 percent of our founders are women.”

Interested startups must have at least one female founder and have raised less than $4 million in funding, through equity or debt financing. Applicants must present their idea in a live pitch process “as a solution that is solving a critical business problem.” Ten teams will be chosen for consideration for final awards.

“We formed M12 to make smart bets on innovative people and their ideas, and the Female Founders Competition is an extension of that mandate,” said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft, in an M12 press release on the competition. “This isn’t about checking a box; it’s an opportunity to remind the VC community that investing in women is more than just good values, it’s good business.”

The competition is open across Israel, Europe, the United States, Canada and Mexico. Applications will be accepted until September 30 this year.  Find out more through M12’s press release (link here) and at the competition website (link here).

We will be watching to see if flux, the Dallas-based technology and software company built on Israeli R&D and focused on solving global food production, will be in the running. Green Prophet founder and editor-in-chief Karin Kloosterman developed Eddy, a flux tool that makes it easy for anyone to grow food anywhere. Learn more about it at the flux website (link here).

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