writes copy 13 Dec 2017

Microsoft Ventures invests in SaaS Active Strategy Management startup Workboard

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Workboard, a SaaS platform that helps companies execute their strategies, today announced a $9 million Series A round that included participation from Microsoft’s formal venture fund.

Floodgate and new investor Microsoft Ventures led the round, which pushes total funding to $12.1 million. Launched last year, Microsoft Ventures has now invested in more than 40 startups.

Workboard helps companies see through their strategic plans by using analytics and artificial intelligence on a cloud-based platform called “Active Strategy Management” that works across mobile apps and features a Slack bot.

“To gain and sustain advantage, companies must activate short-range strategic priorities, localize them to front-line teams, and measure results objectively to learn and iterate faster than ever before.” Workboard CEO Deidre Paknad said in a statement. “Workboard enables organizations to activate smarter strategies faster and make strategic priorities remarkably transparent and interactive.”

Current customers include Samsung, IBM, Sony, Slack, Visioneer, 8×8, Catalina and others. The 4-year-old company is based in Redwood City, Calif.

“Workboard helps accelerate enterprise strategies for digital transformation and intelligent automation by making strategy management itself more data centric, intelligently automated and iterative,” Nagraj Kashyap, global head of Microsoft Ventures, said in a statement. “It's a brilliant insight and a necessary solution at a crucial time for enterprises in transformation.”

Microsoft said it launched its first formal venture fund to  make new investments in companies that align with its own interests in areas, including cloud computing, enterprise technologies and  machine learning.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company had previously taken a less structured  approach  to investing in startups, in contrast with other tech companies such  Intel and Google, which have their own  formalized venture programs.

“Given that the move to the cloud remains the single largest priority for the industry, identifying the bleeding-edge companies who complement and leverage the transition to the cloud is key to our investment thesis,” Kashyap said last year. “Companies developing product and services that complement Azure infrastructure, building new business SaaS applications, promoting more personal computing by enriching the Windows and HoloLens ecosystems, new disruptive enterprise, consumer productivity, and communication products around Office 365 are interesting areas from an investment perspective.'

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