Letting hundreds of companies know that they didn’t make the cut is never fun. It’s tough telling entrepreneurs “no”, especially so many interesting ones all at once. For all practical purposes, these companies may perceive that they have been “rejected” by the Kinect Acelerator.
Many of you may want specific feedback on why your application was not selected, and we try to give some feedback when asked. However, it’s not practical for us to get into a prolonged discussion with each company.
Because of this, we wanted to shed some light on the common reasons that we didn’t select certain applications as finalists.
We didn’t clearly see how your team would integrate the Kinect. One of the strengths of this program is all of the access to technical specialists working on the Kinect. We selected teams we felt would especially benefit from that access.
We aren’t the right group of people to help your company. Sometimes we receive applications for ideas that we honestly don’t think we can help with all that much based on our domain experience and the experience of our mentors.
The team looks interesting, but we are not interested in your general idea/market. We’ve all had our own good and bad experiences, and this affects the types of ideas and markets we’re interested in exploring.
You didn’t commit to the program. This program is a full-time mentor intensive program designed to be done in person. We didn’t take teams where:
1) Key founders or developers were not able to attend the program full-time in Seattle.
2) Team members did not plan to quit their other jobs or needed to do side-work. Most founders in accelerator programs work 80 hours a week or more on their startup. They need total focus to move quickly. In addition, raising funding takes time and generally investors want to see founders fully invested personally and financially before funding them.
3) Team members were on the fence about whether this program was for them.
We plan to commit 100% to helping you succeed. We only took teams that we felt were 100% committed and enthusiastic as well.
We emailed and/or called you and you didn’t respond. 100% follow-up is an important trait for an entrepreneur. For us, it’s a simple litmus test.
The application was sparse or incomplete. This one is pretty self explanatory. We can’t evaluate you if you don’t provide us enough information.
We didn’t think the team had the right ingredients. There’s no exact formula for what we’re looking for, but if something jumps out at us as an obvious issue in the team, then we’ll likely pass.
Lack of demonstrated talent or execution ability. This one is tricky, but we do look for signs of talent and ability to execute. If your company is purely idea stage, and you have not supplied any compelling history of execution, we’re likely to pass. We realize that this could simply be bad timing and that your team just hasn’t gotten up and running yet.
We emailed you, spoke to you, or met you and it just didn’t feel “right” to us. This is obviously totally subjective, but we tend to trust our gut after our interactions with you.
We selected a different team working on the same idea. Some of the same ideas were submitted by multiple teams and although we may have felt more than one team was positioned for success, we didn’t feel it was fair to choose more than one competitor for the program. We want all the teams in the program to support each other, not compete against each other.
Other stuff was even more interesting. Even if we like your team and your idea, it’s possible that we just like other stuff more.
It’s important to realize that non-selection is not really rejection. It’s just non-selection. We can only take 10 teams, and that means we will miss out on some great ones. If you look at this list of reasons, you should start to realize that there is no crystal ball. Much of this is purely subjective. Further, many of our decisions are based upon limited information in a highly compressed time-frame. If you’ve applied and receive notification of non-selection, we sincerely hope that you will go on to do great things. It will not surprise us one bit. Know that many founders don’t make it into a program the first time.
We hope you will keep in touch with your progress, and we wish you the best!