Author : Peggy Johnson

Today, I’m proud to announce that Microsoft’s corporate venture fund, M12, is joining forces with EQT Ventures and SVB Financial Group to launch the Female Founders Competition, a global startup contest to identify top female talent and accelerate access to capital for women entrepreneurs. We’ve all heard the long odds facing women founders in tech. Last year, female founders received just 2.2 percent of total global venture capital funding, and only 17 percent of all startups have at least one female founder, despite the fact that gender diversity on executive teams correlates with greater profitability and value creation.

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Last year, M12, Microsoft’s venture fund (formerly known as Microsoft Ventures), set out on a mission to uncover the most innovative startups harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to transform businesses and solve real-world challenges. Six months later, we’re overwhelmed with the response. Not only did we receive hundreds of submissions, the companies were all innovative, impactful and inspiring.

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In the U.S. and abroad, fundamental rights and services like voting, healthcare, housing and education are tethered to legal proof of identification – you can’t participate if you don’t have it. Yet nearly one in six people worldwide – the majority of them being women, children and refugees – live without it. The lack of…

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Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is being leveraged to do incredible things, from breaking down cultural barriers with smart translators, to helping doctors and biochemists better understand, prevent and treat the world’s deadliest and most confounding diseases. Technology is bridging the gap from imagination to reality faster than ever before, but we have only scratched the…

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