Microsoft Accelerator for Kinect: Demo Day!
- Posted: Jul 06, 2012 at 6:00AM
A few months ago The Kinect Accelerator journey began, The Kinect Accelerator - Turn your awesome idea into a product (and get investment from Microsoft to do so) & Kinect Accelerator Program Seeking Innovators. This past week, the destination was reached with 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.
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.
There may be a bunch of lazy kids out there who don't get enough exercise, but the future trend is pretty clear, even in a digital age, we are moving into an age of kinetic discovery, communication and relationship building. Creativity will be a standard by which we will have to be measured, because our future is one where decisions will have to be made creatively. It's not just hype. It's a matter of course.
Yesterday, the Microsoft Accelerator for Kinect had a demo day for eleven companies, and the experience left me thinking really hard about how we are using technology these days. All of these companies use the Kinect technology to solve problems.
The Kinect program capitalizes on something Microsoft observed after the launch of the device in November 2010. People developed unexpected uses for the Kinect, which was sold as an accessory for the Xbox 360 gaming console.
Microsoft dubbed that the "Kinect Effect," and launched a program for established businesses, as well as startups, to develop commercial Kinect applications.
Microsoft managers expected to get maybe 200 applications for the Accelerator for Kinect program. They ended up with 500 from 60 countries.
It's the first time that Microsoft has done something like its own Accelerator program, and the interaction they have with TechStars should give you insight into how the consumer experience in technology is taking a massive leap from sitting at a desk or sitting in your classroom consuming media through technology, to one that is about making things, influencing people, and creating ideas through kinetic interaction with media and technology.
We are basically talking about a fundamental change into what I think is a more construction-of-reality future. Just look at this 3-D model of Dave Drach's head. It's made using the Kinect and some application coding put together by Manctl, one of the Accelerator teams at Demo Day.