On Thursday, the Bing Fund proudly announced that they have enrolled the first two startups into the program: Buddy, a service for mobile and web developers based in Kirland, Washington and Pinion, an advertising company that targets the gaming ecosystem based in Bellevue but originally from Australia.
Buddy was founded by David McLauchlan and Jeff MacDuff, who met when they both worked at Microsoft. Buddy sets out to reduce the time that developers spend working with server-side code, essentially providing a fully hosted and managed toolset of web services for application development, along with analytics for developers to monitor their apps.
Pinion, on the other hand, is working to help gaming communities generate revenue from their endeavors by taking advantage of the relatively untapped world of in-game advertising. Over 450 gaming communities are already a part of Pinion, and advertisers include Sony, Xbox, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Budweiser, Warner Brothers, and Adidas.
The Bing Fund was originally announced on July 12, earlier this year. So, what other companies will the Bing Fund bring on board? There’s no word on that yet, but Rahul Sood of the Bing Fund said that they have their eyes on a few companies in San Francisco and Boulder.
Microsoft has formally unveiled their angel investment fund and incubator called Bing Fund. I wrote about its possible announcement a few days ago, back then I didn’t have a lot of information. My ZDNet colleague, Mary Jo Foley came across a job posting suggesting Microsoft’s intentions of improving their online product portfolio with new projects coming out of Bing Fund. Along with the Bing Fund announcement, Microsoft has shared some details. The fineprint of the fund is quite interesting since surprisingly using the Microsoft dev stack is not a compulsion. While Microsoft hopes to educate and would like to see startups using Microsoft products, it is not a rejection parameter. Some key points:
- Startups that have a working product and some momentum will be chosen
- Microsoft’s already cash-losing Bing will be providing an undisclosed sum of money to a limited number of startups incorporated in the US
- The exclusive club will add a new startup only after a startup graduates
- Focus will be on startups developing mobile and Internet products
- Microsoft does not expect anything in return, or so they claim
- The company hopes to get into the glamorous startup ecosystem that has so far evaded Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform
- For startups in infancy, Microsoft suggests BizSpark
- The incubator is based in Microsoft’s Seattle backyard and for good Microsoft guidance startups are expected to be in the neighboring area
For a while I’ve been wondering why Microsoft was not doing enough to get startups develop apps for Windows Phone along with iOS/Android, the Bing Fund will most likely fix this problem and at the same time help achieve Microsoft’s tablet goals.
For those who’ve known the computing brand VoodooPC know that they were probably the best designed PCs out there. The company led by Rahul Sood made some exquisite computing devices that ran Windows. It was bought by HP and we haven’t heard a lot about the brand since. Rahul Sood decided to work for Microsoft and moved to Seattle.
At first he worked with the Interactive Entertainment Division—the guys behind Xbox. This move made a lot of sense. And then his Twitter profile said he was working with Bing. I was baffled. I did ask him once as to why is someone who is known for his exquisite taste in hardware design working on a search engine. I got no reply. Today, however, he finally let out something. Rahul’s profile says he is working on a project called Bing Fund. Very little is known about what Bing Fund is except, well, it’s a fund for startups. What sort of companies are in Bing Fund’s portfolio isn’t known and neither is why is it called Bing Fund!
Bing Fund has a splash page and according to Rahul Sood, later this month we shall know what Bing Fund is all about.
Theo Valich writing for Bright Side of News says the companies under bing Fund are focussing on developing applications that offer a better software & hardware experience, given Microsoft’s Surface & Windows Phone 8, this will fill in a lot of gaps between Microsoft’s mobile platform and Apple’s. Microsoft has been trying to get the Silicon Valley to consider Microsoft’s Windows Phone as a platform for their apps but hasn’t been able to make any headway, Bing Fund might just be a way.
But why is it called the Bing Fund?!