News Release: 1/8/2019
APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN FOR COMCAST NBCUNIVERSAL LIFT LABS ACCELERATOR,
POWERED BY TECHSTARS
Accelerator focused on connectivity, media, and entertainment opens applications for second class in Philadelphia
Philadelphia – January 7, 2019 – Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is now accepting applications for its second class. Founders from around the world developing the next generation of connectivity, media and entertainment companies are encouraged to apply now through April 7 for this year’s program. The class will begin on July 15, 2019.
The accelerator is part of Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs, a collection of programs that give talented entrepreneurs access to Comcast NBCUniversal's renowned network of partners, brands, and mentors to foster rapid breakthroughs in connectivity, media, and entertainment.
Comcast NBCUniversal and Techstars will select up to 12 startups to participate in this immersive 13-week program and position the companies for possible partnerships with Comcast NBCUniversal’s partners and brands. The startups will work directly with mentors and product experts from across Comcast NBCUniversal’s businesses, including the XFINITY technology, product and experience teams; the NBC and Telemundo broadcast stations; NBCUniversal cable networks; Universal Studios; Universal Theme Parks; DreamWorks; Comcast Business; Comcast Ventures; Strategic Development; as well as mentors from Techstars’ expansive network.
“After an incredibly successful inaugural class that resulted in many learnings, pilots, proofs of concepts, and deals, we are thrilled to offer this opportunity to a new group of entrepreneurs and host them in Philadelphia this summer,” said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast Cable. “Entrepreneurialism is an important part of our heritage, and we’re excited to continue working side-by-side with startups to push the boundaries of innovation.”
Accepted applicants will partner with mentors and teams at the new Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia. They will also participate in custom workshops, training sessions, and business meetings unique to the company and its LIFT Labs program. The accelerator will culminate with a “Demo Day” in October, where the companies will pitch their businesses to hundreds of investors, mentors, Comcast NBCUniversal leaders, and members of the tech and startup community. In addition, each company will have access to work space at LIFT Labs in Philadelphia until June 2020.
The program seeks startups utilizing innovative technologies including, but not limited to, advanced connectivity; Internet of Things; artificial intelligence; machine learning; blockchain; voice control; virtual, augmented, and mixed reality; as well as accessibility tech. Specific focus areas include:
· Smart Places – Empowering people and businesses to seamlessly connect anywhere faster, efficiently, and reliably.
· Immersive + Interactive Experiences – Engaging users through interactive platforms, connected gaming and other rich entertainment experiences.
· Digital-First Customer Engagement – Creating and/or enabling personalized customer success solutions and experiences.
· Next-Gen Marketing – Predicting, shifting, and analyzing customer behaviors to stand out in a crowded digital world.
Techstars’ veteran, KJ Singh, will serve as the Managing Director of the 2019 accelerator. Having run 10 accelerator programs at Techstars, he will leverage his past experience to help lead the program’s strategy, as well as recruit, select, and elevate the second class, working in collaboration with the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs team. During the program, he will advise the companies on product, market fit, growth tactics, fundraising strategies, and other opportunities to accelerate their businesses.
“I’ve been intrigued by the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator and the value it offers startups,” said Singh. “When I learned there was an opportunity to pair my more than six years of experience and knowledge of the Techstars approach with Comcast NBCUniversal’s significant expertise in the connectivity, media, and entertainment space, I knew that we would be an unstoppable team.”
The inaugural class of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, included alive5, eyecandylab, Orai, Pium, Polycade, Portl Media, Tally Interactive, Thinker Tinker, Trapica, and WiARframe.
“Through the LIFT Labs accelerator, we had the ability to reach mentors who have an unmatched breadth of experience, who helped build some of the world’s most groundbreaking companies. Being able to have access to these people in a raw, unfiltered way was a game-changer,” said Glenn Gutierrez Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, alive5.
The program culminated in Demo Day on Oct. 11, 2018 in Philadelphia, where it was announced that 70 percent of the companies secured partnerships with Comcast NBCUniversal businesses during their time in the accelerator.
Comcast has a long history of supporting startup communities, and LIFT Labs is just one of the many ways in which entrepreneurs can gain valuable access and insights to Comcast NBCUniversal. Comcast launched its first venture arm in 1999, and in 2010, Comcast Ventures was formed and has since grown into one of the most active corporate venture arms in the country. LIFT Labs offers programmed talks, mentor sessions with Comcast NBCUniversal employees and partners, plus events and other educational resources designed to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. For more information, including access to free resources, visit www.ComcastNBCULIFT.com or follow @LIFT_Labs on Twitter