REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft Corp., in partnership with American Family Insurance, announced that it is launching a business accelerator to assist startups focused on home automation. Startups interested in participating in the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator can apply here.

The new Microsoft Ventures Accelerator will be hosted on the company’s campus in Redmond, Washington, and conducted September through December. Working with American Family Insurance, a leading multiline insurance company, the program will connect startups with experts in the industry.

“Home automation is ripe for startup innovation,” said Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president, developer experience and evangelism for Microsoft. “We are working closely with American Family Insurance to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for entrepreneurs in our accelerator. Startups accepted into the program will gain critical industry insight to build companies with the potential to have an enormous impact on our lives.”

Microsoft said the accelerator will provide mentorship, workspace, and an immersive experience focused on launching world-class companies with an eye on the global marketplace. American Family Insurance will provide important consumer insights and homeowner knowledge that would be impossible for young companies to gain access to on their own. American Family Insurance is also offering a minimum optional $25,000 equity investment in each startup accepted into the program.

“We are focused on helping early stage companies bring new products and services to market that can make our policyholders’ homes and lives safer,” said Dan Reed, managing director at American Family Ventures. “Working closely with startups and making early-stage investments in emerging technology companies is a great way to support the ecosystem and also benefit our customers. We look forward to working with the next generation of companies that are reimagining the connected home.”

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Publication date: 7/7/2014