Nokia + Microsoft Kick Off $23M AppCampus Incubator: Over $1M Going To 36 Startups

Next week Nokia and Microsoft are expected to unveil the first handset(s) running on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform, and today comes news about the apps they hope will lure in more users to buy them. AppCampus, an $23 million (€18 million) JV between Microsoft, Nokia and Aalto University in Finland, first announced in May, to foster more app development on the platform, said it has doled out the first $1 million-plus of their budget on 36 developers out of a total of 900 submissions, an average of $30,000 per app, although individual investments over the course of the JV will be between $25,000 and $88,000.

Pekka Sivonen, Head of AppCampus, tells me the apps are expected to be coming out starting in October, and will run exclusively on Windows Phone and “other Nokia platforms” for their first six months — potentially touching some 500 million devices out in the market today.

And now the JV is actively searching for its next batch of startups to get going in the new year. “We’re making close to 700 investments in the next three years so I would heavily encourage people to submit their best ideas,” he said. “This is the time to jump in.”

Partly for competitive reasons, AppCampus is not disclosing the full list of the companies until they go live and start getting distributed in the Marketplace app store. Sivonen says that they range from games to productivity apps, and cover a wide range of geographies. Remember, Finland is the home of Rovio, one of the most successful mobile gaming companies ever, so expectations will be high.

The couple have been made public, interestingly, have an enterprise/productivity bent:

Sihti is a mobile job-search service that will enable users to look for job openings and then apply and send their resumes using the Windows platform. There could be some interesting integration here too with Microsoft’s enterprise and Skydrive services.

The other application, Modz, is created to let kids measure their blood sugar and help manage that. This points to the growing trend of youth with their own mobile devices, and of course the rise of mobile health solutions, something also being pushed by Samsung.

Rather frustratingly, Sivonen didn’t fall into my Q&A trap and wouldn’t give any comment about Nokia’s new “Windows Phone device” — except note that he answered in the singular, not plural.