Microsoft Accelerator for Kinect: The Road to Demo Day

Twelve weeks ago, I announced that the Microsoft Accelerator for Kinect had opened its doors and the 11 participating teams had arrived in Seattle. Yesterday, the program concluded with Demo Day—an all-day event attended by more than 150 investors and journalists—where each of the startups presented their business plans and applications.

The übi team, all the way from Munich, Germany, demonstrate their Kinect-enabled technology that allows users to turn almost any screen or surface into a touch-enabled display. From the beginning, we believed this program was going to be amazing: we had hoped to receive 100 to 150 applications, but ended up with nearly 500 from more than 60 countries. There were so many amazing, creative ideas from a whole range of talented, successful people. As I said in a previous post, getting to the finalists was super challenging.

 The teams who came here to Seattle—leaving jobs, families, university, and the comforts of their daily lives—did not disappoint. Their energy, drive, and innovative thinking were a constant source of inspiration to me and the folks across Microsoft that worked with them.

 There were a lot great moments at Demo Day; here are just a few of many:

  • The pitches. To see all of the teams come so far in such a short period of time was phenomenal—from early, nascent ideas about their businesses to fully formed plans today. And it was especially gratifying to see so many of them already partially funded.
  • The demo booths. These photos speak for themselves. Check out more pictures from the event as well as videos of the whole three months.
  • The cheer. Last but not least, when the day came to close and it was time for everyone to box up their demo booths, all of the teams gave each other a spontaneous cheer that reverberated through the halls of Microsoft. The camaraderie and respect that had developed between the teams was palpable. That cheer was the sound of success, collaboration, and teamwork.

GestSure Technologies prepares for event attendees. The GestSure team has collaborated to develop a Kinect-enabled solution for the operating room. I think all the Kinect Accelerator companies have done an outstanding job the past 12 weeks and have bright futures ahead.  These 11 teams are helping accelerate and push the boundary of what’s possible with Kinect for Windows, and inspiring others to think creatively about what the future looks like when Kinect-enabled, touch-free NUI experiences are commonplace.

Thanks to all of the teams that participated in the Accelerator and to the many others who applied. Keep up the great work!

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Craig Eisler
General Manager, Kinect for Windows

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