Microsoft’s New Kinect Accelerator Powered by TechStars

January 6, 2012

1:35 pm

Entrepreneurs still have 3 weeks left to apply for the TechStars-powered Kinect Accelerator, which will incubate startups built off the Kinect’s motion and voice control.

The program takes place in Seattle from March to May. In exchange for 6% common equity, startups receive $20,000 in equity investment. Plus, Microsoft will provide Kinect hardware, the SDK for Kinect for Windows, Xbox development kits, and testing space.

Microsoft originally approached TechStars to collaborate on the program, which obviously aims to spur innovation around its Kinect platform. Microsoft won’t own any of the intellectual property created or any of the equity – but they do get a seat at demo day and may choose to publish some of the products demoed.

The Kinect Accelerator is managed by Dave Malcolm, a TechStars mentor and former Microsoft executive. Advisers include TechStars mentors and Microsoft execs.

The program was announced just a few months after the unveiling of TechStars Cloud, an accelerator focused on cloud-based startups. These vertical initiatives make sense: TechStars can tailor the curriculum to the particular technology and bring in relevant mentors. I asked TechStars founder David Cohen if they will continue the trend of partnering with other tech companies, and he replied, “Potentially, although we currently have no such plans.”

Ten startups will be accepted into the Kinect Accelerator, and applications are due January 25. If you need inspiration (or just diversion), check out this video of a Kinect-controlled robot brushing a cat.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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