Knowmail’s Accelerator Experience With “The Big Guys,” Microsoft

August 18, 2017

12:20 pm

Email: Since the dawn of the internet age, it has remained both the most essential form of communication and the most needlessly time-consuming task any employee faces daily. In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute once clocked the average time spent answering email at 28 percent of a worker’s entire day. It’s no wonder that a startup came along to address the issue.

Haim Senior is CEO and cofounder of Knowmail, a startup which uses personalized artificial intelligence to help professionals focus on things that matter most by allowing them to take a break from tiring communication processes. Since the company is a Microsoft Accelerator alumni, Tech.Co interviewed Haim on Knowmail’s experience, collaboration, and ongoing relationship with the well-known corporate accelerator.

What were the factors that made you want to join a corporate accelerator?

“The fact that it was (and still is) the best accelerator in Israel. In addition, I envisioned building a big company, so who’s better to learn it from than the big guys?”

Talk about the application process and what you learned during that time. How did you get in the door?

“The screening process for MSFT accelerator is one of the most professional I’ve seen, starting with an online application and a follow-up interview if you pitched your idea well online. In the interview, Microsoft mainly focuses on your commitment to your venture and your performance as a team — after all, it’s all about people.

 

“The final step — a three-minute pitch in front of top notch investors/entrepreneurs — that was some experience, which I practiced for in front of the mirror for hours, building Knowmail’s story. As always, MSFT puts you in all kind of real life conditions for you to make an impact. We meet many people in life and some might ask you what you do. That three-minute pitch definitely prepared me for that question.”

So what are the benefits of joining a corporate accelerator?

“We’ve learned two things:

 

– A startup is a real business — everything matters. It’s cool to have a great idea, but if you don’t build it to become a valuable business it will remain just a cool idea.

 

– Plan from the end and work to make your critical path successful. Since you’re so far from your end game, it’s important to set the trajectory well in order to get there.”

What advice would you give founders looking to join a corporate accelerator?

“Know exactly what goals you’re trying to achieve and whether you’ll be able to get to them faster inside such program. Push for getting accepted and, once you do, use every minute you’re in to overachieve those goals.”

What have you gained since graduating?

“Business management, customers, and funding. MSFT Accelerator were able to take us places faster than ever: It was up to us to actually perform.”

Read more about accelerators around the country at TechCo

Learn more about Corporate Accelerators in our series at Tech.Co

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He’s based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state’s slogan: “sayWA.” In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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