MS incubating home automation

Microsoft today announced a new startup accelerator focused on home automation. Microsoft is doing this with the partnership from American Family Insurance’s American Family Ventures, the direct venture capital arm of American Family Insurance, makes early stage investments in emerging technology companies. Microsoft will provide mentorship, workspace and an immersive experience to create world class companies to the selected startups.

Read the full press release below.

REDMOND, Wash. — June 17, 2014 — Microsoft Corp. and American Family Insurance are launching a unique business accelerator for startups focused on home automation. The accelerator will help the next generation of startups create advancements that can help lead to safer and smarter homes. Startups interested in participating in the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in partnership with American Family Insurance can apply now at M12 - Microsoft's Venture Capital Fund.

The new Microsoft Ventures Accelerator was announced at the tech company’s Global Startup Day in San Francisco, celebrating startups from several of its programs around the world that are seeing market traction. Microsoft currently runs startup accelerators in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris and Tel Aviv. The new accelerator will be hosted on its campus in Redmond and conducted September through December. By working with American Family Insurance, a leading multiline insurance company, the program will connect startups with experts in the industry.

“Home automation is ripe for startup innovation,” said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president, Developer Experience and Evangelism for Microsoft. “We are working closely with American Family Insurance to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for entrepreneurs in our accelerator. Startups accepted into the program will gain critical industry insight to build companies with the potential to have an enormous impact on our lives.”

The accelerator provides mentorship, workspace and an immersive experience focused on launching world-class companies with an eye on the global marketplace. American Family Insurance, the eighth largest homeowners’ insurer in the U.S., will provide deep industry experience, important consumer insights and a wealth of homeowner knowledge that would be impossible for young companies to gain access to on their own. American Family Insurance is also offering a minimum optional $25,000 equity investment in each startup accepted into the program.

“We are focused on helping early stage companies bring new products and services to market that can make our policyholders’ homes and lives safer,” said Dan Reed, managing director at American Family Ventures. “Working closely with startups and making early-stage investments in emerging technology companies is a great way to support the ecosystem and also benefit our customers. We look forward to working with the next generation of companies that are reimagining the connected home.”