Microsoft’s Inaugural Kinect Accelerator Is Now Accepting Applications

Microsoft’s Kinect Accelerator, a program created to incubate startups building the next generation of innovative experiences for the Kinect, is accepting applications now through January 25, 2012. Xbox 360 and Kinect have changed the way we interact with games, TV, media and applications. And the “Kinect Effect” has been felt beyond the living room in industries from healthcare to retail, education to automotive and more.  If you are a group of developers or an existing team/startup committed to build a business that takes advantage of the booming Kinect ecosystem, there is no better resource in the world than the Kinect Accelerator.  Following a competitive screening process, ten finalists will be chosen for this unique three month incubation program running from March to May, 2012 in Seattle, WA.  Microsoft’s Kinect Accelerator is powered by TechStars, a leading accelerator program in the U.S., and will utilize the proven mentor-driven methodology pioneered by this group. Mentors include experts from Microsoft, industry influentials and investors who will be intensely focused on making the chosen companies successful moving forward.

Applications for the Kinect Accelerator are now being accepted at and any startup worldwide can apply, provided that they meet the requirements of the program.  If accepted, each company will receive an equity investment of $20,000 from TechStars in exchange for six percent common equity. While Microsoft is putting significant effort into the accelerator program, Microsoft will not retain intellectual property or equity in any of the participating companies.   

From March to May 2012, the companies will co-locate at a facility provided by Microsoft in Seattle where they will be provisioned Xbox development kits, Kinect hardware, the Kinect for Windows SDK and space for testing and developing Kinect based applications. Microsoft BizSpark will also supply each of the companies with a full complement of Microsoft development tools and support. 

The companies will also interact with and have access to mentors during the course of the program including Microsoft executives, entrepreneurs, industry influencers and researchers. The goal is to help new startups develop both the technology around their Kinect experience as well as the business model so the resulting company can prosper as an independent entity after the program. Just some of the mentors are:

·         David Cohen, Founder/CEO, TechStars

·         Jeff Powers, Founder, Occipital

·         Andrew Tschesnok, Founder, Organic Motion

·         Manu Kumar, Investor, K-9 Ventures

·         Eran Egozy, Founder and CTO, Harmonix

·         Eric Norlin, Organizer, Blur, Defrag, and Glue conferences

·         Jason Mendelson, Managing Director, Foundry Group,

·         Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group

And from Microsoft:

·         Dan’l Lewin, Corporate VP, Strategic and Emerging Business Development

·         Craig Eisler, General Manager, Kinect for Windows

·         Anoop Gupta, Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft Research

·         Michael Mott, General Manager, Microsoft Games Studios

·         Rick Martinez, Executive Producer, Microsoft Studios

·         Dave Drach, Managing Director, Emerging Business Team

·         Adam Isgreen,  Creative Director, Microsoft Studios

·         Jeff Matsushita,  Executive Producer, Microsoft Studios,

·         Rhys Dekle,  Director, Business Development, Microsoft Studios

David Malcolm, former Microsoft executive and current TechStars mentor, will be the Managing Director of the Kinect Accelerator.     

At the end of the program, the companies will get to present their businesses at an Investor Demo Day to Microsoft representatives, venture capitalists and angel investors for evaluation and possible investment.  Additionally, Microsoft may work with the companies to publish their Kinect experiences through Microsoft distribution channels, such as Xbox LIVE Arcade or Kinect Fun Labs, two premier destinations on Xbox 360 to showcase innovative content.

Applications are now open and can be found at The deadline for applications is midnight GMT on January 25, 2012.  Companies selected will be notified and receive offers on or before February 17, 2012.

Published: 11/18/2011 11:15 AM

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