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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. Companies selected will be notified and receive offers on or before February 17, 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 http://KinectAccelerator.com 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.

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.