News Column

Startup Accelerator Focuses on Home Automation

June 17, 2014

Staff Reports --

A new incubator is aimed at home-automation startups (file photo)
A new incubator is aimed at home-automation startups (file photo)

REDMOND, Wash., June 17 -- Microsoft Corp. and American Family Insurance are launching a business accelerator for startups focused on advancements that lead to safer and smarter homes.

The new Microsoft Ventures Accelerator was announced at the tech company's Global Startup Day in San Francisco. Microsoft also runs startup accelerators in Bangalore, Beijing, Berlin, London, Paris and Tel Aviv.

"Home automation is ripe for startup innovation," Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president, Developer Experience and Evangelism for Microsoft, said in a news release. "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 in launching companies aimed at the global marketplace. American Family Insurance will provide industry experience, consumer insights and homeowner knowledge.

American Family Insurance is also offering a minimum optional $25,000 equity investment in each startup accepted into the program, according to the release.

"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," he added.

Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance ranks 373rd on the Fortune 500 list. American Family Ventures, the company's direct venture capital arm, makes early stage investments in emerging technology companies.

Microsoft Ventures provides tools, resources and expertise to help startups succeed.

Microsoft will host the accelerator on its campus in Redmond, Wash., from September through December.

Startups interested in participating in the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator can apply now at


Microsoft Corp. contributed.

For more stories on small businesses and entrepreneurs, please see HispanicBusiness' Entrepreneur Channel

Source: (c) 2014. All rights reserved.

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