Leeds-based digital agency Bolser has been hired by M12, Microsoft’s San Francisco-headquartered venture fund, to design, develop and promote a new website that will help drive its ongoing global investment strategy.

M12 appointed Bolser after holding a global pitch process across its approved supplier network which includes some of the world’s most high-profile digital agencies.

Bolser has been an approved Microsoft supplier for five years providing digital consultancy and development services to Xbox Channel Marketing and ExpertZone.

Founded in 2016, M12 has invested between US$1m-US$20m of equity in more than 100 enterprise software companies located throughout the world with a focus on applied AI, business applications, infrastructure, security and vanguard technologies.

The fund is also a vocal supporter of increased diversity in tech, and sponsors Colorintech, an organisation dedicated to making Europe the most inclusive and equitable tech hub in the world.

In 2020, M12 hosted its second Female Founders Competition alongside Mayfield and Melinda Gates’s Pivotal Ventures to invest US$6m in four female-founded companies. Female founders received just 2.8 per cent of all US venture capital dollars in 2019, a number that decreased in 2020.

Commenting on Bolser’s appointment, M12 chief marketing officer, Colleen O’Brien (pictured), said: “We invest in a diverse range of entrepreneurs building the next generation of business technology, so we need to be able to provide digital platforms that attract, impress and engage them.

“We were aware of Bolser’s great reputation within Microsoft so we wanted to see how the agency would respond to our brief. They showed an exceptional level of insight and creativity and really understand the importance of diversity, inclusion and accessibility to our strategic objectives.

“This convinced us that Bolser was the ideal partner for us and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

Bolser’s pitch was led by head of design, Hanneka Kilburn, with the account handling, design, development and promotion of the M12 website being undertaken by a predominantly female team.

Bolser’s Hanneka Kilburn said: “Winning the M12 pitch is a great way for us to mark the start of our twentieth year in business. It is testimony to the great work we have previously done with Microsoft and also to the creativity, strategic thinking and excellent implementation we are able to provide.

“M12 is a progressive organisation that is committed to reinventing corporate venture capital. The fund moves with the agility and speed of a startup to get deals done quickly, so it is a very refreshing and exciting firm to be working with.

“We have started the project at pace and are keen to further develop our relationship with Colleen and the rest of the M12 team as we progress.”

M12’s global team has decades of experience in investing, product innovation, business development, go-to-market, R&D and entrepreneurship. M12 investors take board seats as part of their investments to provide founders with active support and engagement. In addition to San Francisco, the fund has offices in Seattle, London, Tel Aviv and Bengaluru.

Founded in 2001, Bolser provides digital marketing consultancy, including web and app development, to a range of national and international clients including Discovery Channel, AIG and Taco Bell.