Microsoft’s venture fund M12 invests in SuperAwesome and opens European office

Microsoft’s corporate venture fund M12 has opened its new office in Europe and invested in SuperAwesome, a UK company that helps create safer places for children when they use the internet.

The new M12 office in London will look for investment opportunities across Europe, focusing on companies involved in big data, analytics, business software as a service, cloud infrastructure, machine learning, artificial intelligence, productivity and security. Led by Matthew Goldstein, one of M12’s founding partners, the office will prioritise businesses in the Series A through C funding stages.

The move will support entrepreneurs and their companies from across the continent at a time when European governments are looking to encourage innovation and the development of technology. At the BETT edtech event in London last week, Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, said the UK’s tech sector was in a “healthy place” and that the government is committed to making the country be a “science and research superpower”.

M12’s latest European investment is in SuperAwesome, which provides a platform for companies to offer advertising, video and communities that are safe for children, as well as parental consent options. Its global customers include LEGO, NBC Universal, Hasbro and Mattel, which have to adhere to new digital privacy laws such as COPPA in the US, GDPR-K in Europe and CCPA in California. Last week, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s data protection watchdog, published the Age Appropriate Design Code – a set of standards for that are intended to help protect the privacy and safety of children when they go online.

Dylan Collins, SuperAwesome Chief Executive, said: “We’re extremely pleased to welcome M12 on board as investors. As the company building the kidtech infrastructure that makes the internet safer for children, it was very important to align with investors who share our values. With Microsoft’s leadership in privacy and of course their acquisition of Minecraft, it was clear we had a common set of perspectives about what the future of the internet looks like.”

Matthew Goldstein, one of M12’s founding partners

Matthew Goldstein, one of M12’s founding partners, will lead the new office

Nagraj Kashyap (top), Corporate Vice-President and Global Head of M12, added: “We are proud to welcome the SuperAwesome team to the M12 portfolio. Dylan has cultivated a mission-driven team dedicated to keeping the internet safer for kids – a critical priority for digital-first generations, with more than 175,000 kids coming online every day. Given Microsoft’s footprint in the identity management space, we’re also excited to explore opportunities for partnership with SuperAwesome.”

M12 has so far invested in 87 companies since its founding in 2016, including European-based firms Beamery, Comtravo, Hazy, Kahoot!, Pickit, TwentyBN and Unbabel. Along with M12’s investment, they are offered the support of an M12 Portfolio Development Manager, who helps connect them with go-to-market resources and Microsoft technology. Portfolio companies also meet with Microsoft leaders, enjoy promotional opportunities at Microsoft events, and are connected with engineering teams to explore product integrations.

M12’s 22-strong team has decades of experience in investing, product innovation, business development, go-to-market, research and development, and entrepreneurship. Investors take board seats post-investment to provide founders with guidance and support.

The London office joins an M12 network that includes San Francisco, Seattle, Tel Aviv and Bengaluru.

Kashyap said: “I am delighted to see M12 open an office in London, which is home to so many innovative companies. It will allow us to meet entrepreneurs face-to-face and progress local investments. I am looking forward to seeing the diverse range of businesses that we will support through this office.”