Microsoft is preparing to unveil a new investment arm called the Bing Fund.
The company hasn’t made an official announcement, but ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley put together a variety of public pieces to assemble the picture.
- There’s a public Bing Fund Twitter account, which so far seems to consist mostly of bland haiku about entrepreneurship. (Sample tweet: “Want to change the world? / First, you must believe you can. / We believe you will.”)
- There’s a placeholder web site at BingFund.com, which simply says “thanks for stopping by” and promises more information “soon.”
- VoodooPC founder Rahul Sood, who ran the boutique PC maker until it was sold to HP in 2006, is now stating on his LinkedIn profile that he is the GM/Partner of the Bing Fund.
- And Microsoft has posted a job opening for the creative director of the Bing Fund.
In other words, Microsoft isn’t trying to hide the existence of the Bing Fund. It is, however, being coy about what exactly the fund will do. Given the amount of infrastructure and the job postings around the Bing Fund, it seems likely that it will include incubation features as well as monetary investment.
Foley notes another job posting for an engineer, which suggests that Microsoft won’t be limiting itself to investing in companies that use Microsoft technologies exclusively. Instead, it is looking for someone who has experience with
That’s smart: Microsoft, if nothing else, is highly practical, and limiting its focus to Microsoft-only shops would be like shooting itself in the foot right now. That’s because many startups actively avoid Microsoft technologies — be they consumer-facing ones like Office or back-end technologies like .NET and Azure — preferring to focus on more open-source Internet technologies.
However, Foley speculates that the name of the fund might imply a requirement that funded startups use Microsoft’s Bing search engine somehow.
Update 7/9/2012: We asked Microsoft representatives for more details, and got a non-response: “At this time we have nothing to share, but stay tuned.”
Top photo of Rahul Sood from Rahul Sood’s Facebook page