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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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The Microsoft Accelerator (Powered By TechStars) Is A Hit And It’s Expanding

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The first cycle of The Microsoft Accelerator, powered by TechStars, is in its final run up to demo day. The first program has focused on Kinect applications and has some super teams, such as Gestsure (they control operating rooms with motion control) and Ubi (they turn any surface into a touch screen.)

Demo Day is in Seattle on June 28th. If you are an investor (angel or VC), send me an email and I’ll get you an invitation.

TechStars and Microsoft have been so pleased with the program that a second cycle of the Microsoft Accelerator in Seattle has been added focusing on cloud-based applications.  The applications are open now through July 13. Each company gets $20k in funding, mentorship from top entrepreneurs, investors and Microsoft executives, $60K in Azure credit, office space, training and support, and demo day to pitch to investors, media, and industry influentials.

As you may know Microsoft has really made some awesome improvements to Windows Azure. Most notably it’s much more open source focused. Want to run Linux? No problem. Python? No problem as Microsoft has embraced open source with this update of Windows Azure. While you need not be using Azure to apply to the Microsoft Accelerator, if you’re playing in the Microsoft ecosystem at all I’d really encourage you to take a look at the latest news about Windows Azure.

If you are an entrepreneur working on something cloud computing related, especially in the Microsoft ecosystem, consider applying to the Microsoft Accelerator today.

The Kinect Accelerator

Comments (91)

As someone obsessed with human computer interaction, the Kinect is an important piece of hardware. Of all the various things Microsoft is working on these days, I find it the most interesting. I’ve seen some awesome things done with it by my friends at Oblong and Organic Motion and saw a ton of neat hacks at last year’s Blur Conference.

Recently, Microsoft announced the Kinect Accelerator, a program created to incubate startups building the next generation of innovative experiences for the Kinect. Microsoft’s Kinect Accelerator is powered by TechStars and applications for the Kinect Accelerator are now being accepted through January 25, 2012. If accepted, each company will receive an equity investment of $20,000 in exchange for six percent of the company in common stock, which will be held by TechStars. 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 June 2012, the companies will co-locate in space 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 interact with and have access to mentors during the course of the program including Microsoft executives, entrepreneurs, and investors. 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.

Some of the mentors, in addition to me, include:

  • Jeff Powers, Founder, Occipital,
  • Andrew Tschesnok, Founder, Organic Motion
  • Manu Kumar, Investor, K-9 Ventures
  • Eran Egozy, Founder and CTO Harmonix
  • David Cohen, Founder/CEO, TechStars
  • Eric Norlin, Organizer, Blur, Defrag, and Glue conferences
  • Jason Mendelson, Managing Director, Foundry Group

Some of the Microsoft mentors include:

  • Dan’l Lewin, Corporate VP, Strategic and Emerging Business Development
  • Craig Eisler, General Manager, Kinect for Windows
  • Phil Spencer, VP, Microsoft Games Studios
  • 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, a former Microsoft executive and current TechStars mentor, will be the Managing Director of the Kinect Accelerator. Since the program is powered by TechStars, it’ll follow the standard TechStars timeline finishing up with a demo day at the end of the program.

If you are an entrepreneur working on something related to Kinect, I can’t imagine a better place to spend three months of your life accelerating your business. Apply now.

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