How tech titans pick who they invest in

Startup Week panel
Nick Ellingson of the Washington Technology Industry Association moderates a Startup Week Seattle panel with Lisa Nelson, managing director of Microsoft’s M12 corporate venture fund; Rodrigo Prudencio, an investment director at Amazon’s Alexa Fund; and Beckett Jackson, investment portfolio director and strategist for Boeing HorizonX. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

When big companies like Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft invest in startups, is it all about the startup? Or is it all about what the startup can do for the big company?

The truth lies somewhere in the middle, representatives of the three companies’ venture groups said today during a Techstars Startup Week Seattle panel discussion.

On one hand, there’s no way Amazon’s Alexa Fund is going to back a venture creating voice-command software that doesn’t work with the Alexa voice assistant.

On the other hand, Microsoft’s M12 corporate venture fund isn’t going require the ventures that it backs to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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