Microsoft's M12 Announces Its First India Investment

by Sohini Bagchi    Jan 16, 2019

Microsoft’s corporate venture fund, M12, has made its debut in India by investing in health-tech startup Innovaccer.  At Microsoft’s recent media and analyst meet in Bangalore, Rashmi Gopinath, partner at M12, said that starting with Innovaccer, the aim of the corporate venture fund is to help entrepreneurs innovate and grow with Microsoft’s reach, expertise, and technologies.

Formerly known as Microsoft Ventures, M12 venture fund comprises experienced venture capitalists and Microsoft veterans — with team members on the ground in North America, Europe and Israel. Gopinath, who is also leading M12’s investments in India, said, “Globally, M12 has invested in over 70 startups in areas ranging from cybersecurity and artificial intelligence to business software-as-a-service and industrial drones.”

The company now sees great potential for venture capital investments in Indian tech business-to-business (B2B) start-ups, she mentioned, adding that, from that perspective, Innovaccer, with its offices in both India and US, is working to solve data interoperability challenges in healthcare and helping health systems enhance their clinical and financial outcomes with a data-first approach, strongly fits into this criteria.

Abhinav Shashank, CEO Innovaccer, said, “Our unique value proposition is a holistic healthcare data platform that offers data aggregation and key analytics to help healthcare systems and insurance providers to align with value-based care models and realize significant cost savings and operational efficiency. We are excited to work with M12 and Microsoft in order to leverage their best-in-class technical, industry, and go-to-market expertise to help address needs for healthcare organizations across the world.”

Nagraj Kashyap, Global head of M12 and Corporate Vice President,Microsoft. “India is a market rich with entrepreneurs creating world-class startups that are poised for success on a global scale. In working with these innovative startups, we believe together we will help disrupt enterprises and industries ripe for digital transformation.“

For Microsoft this is just the beginning and going forward M12 aims to invest in more such innovative projects. Venture capital investments in Indian tech B2B start-ups have been trending upwards with over US$3.09B raised in equity funding across 415 deals in 2018, 28 percent more than $2.41B invested in 2017, as per a recent Tracxn report. Moreover, an increasing number of enterprise B2B startups are being founded in India that cater to a global customer base, most notably in artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, software as a service (SaaS), data analytics and Internet of Things (IoT).

These sectors continue to be top strategic priority focus areas for Microsoft and M12 as well. In addition, India offers unique competitive advantages by being home to top technical talent in the world including deep tech areas such as computer vision, robotics, blockchain and autonomous driving. These factors position India favourably to support highly innovative startups that can effectively compete on a global scale, the company believes.