Just about a month ago, Microsoft officially announced its Bing Fund angel fund and incubator program. Today, Bing Fund announced that it has enrolled its first two companies: app development service Buddy and Pinion, an advertising service with a focus on gaming communities. Both companies hail from Microsoft’s own home state of Washington and will, among other things, get subsidized use of Bing’s APIs, mentorship, funding and access to co-working space in Bellevue, WA where Microsoft’s Online Services Division is located.
When Microsoft announced the Bing Fund, it said that it was looking for startups that focus on mobile and web experiences and which provide “both inspirational vision” and the “ability to execute.” According to Bing Fund’s general manager Rahul Sood, his team heard “from a large number of startups” after the fund was announced. He believes both Buddy and Pinion “an amazing couple of companies” that “can really change the landscape in their respective areas.”
Buddy was founded by two former Microsoft employees, Dave McLauchlan and Jeff MacDuff, who worked at the company for 12 years before starting their own venture. The idea behind Buddy is to offer mobile developers a set of pre-built and pre-scaled web service, ranging from database systems to cloud storage and even Instagram-like image filters. Buddy, which directly competes with companies like StackMob and Parse, previously raised $1 million from Transmedia Capital. As Sood notes, the company’s tools support a wide variety of non-Microsoft platforms, including iOS, Android, SmartTV, Facebook and HTML5.
Pinion, says Sood, almost went broke three times before joining the Bing Fund. The company focuses on placing interactive ads on gaming servers and currently works with a number of major publishers, including Valve and their Steam platform.
The next batch of companies, says Sood, will be announced soon and will likely come from San Francisco and Boulder.