Originally posted on Comcast.com
Startups working on breakthroughs in connectivity, media, and entertainment for all abilities are the focus of third program in Philadelphia.
Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, announced it is now accepting applications for its next program and is seeking startup companies developing the next generation of connectivity, media, and entertainment technologies from around the world. Founders are encouraged to apply now through April 5, 2020 for this year’s program that begins July 13, 2020 at the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia.
The accelerator is part of Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs, a collection of programs that gives talented entrepreneurs access to Comcast’s, NBCUniversal’s, and Sky’s renowned network of partners, brands, and mentors to foster rapid product innovation breakthroughs. Since its launch in 2018, 21 companies from around the world have completed the program, with 15 of them securing pilots or proofs of concept with Comcast NBCUniversal brands. Founders have hailed from multiple countries and more than half were women or people of color.
“The Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator is a unique program that offers entrepreneurs an exclusive opportunity to collaborate with mentors from across Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky through a variety of workshops, training sessions, and personalized business development plans,” said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer. “In just two years, the program has produced phenomenal alumni companies who have gone on to secure pilot programs and venture capital funding, while building their independent businesses. Entrepreneurialism and innovation are embedded in what we do at Comcast NBCUniversal, and we are excited to discover this year’s class of founders.”
Specific focus areas for 2020 include:
- Advanced Connectivity – Enhancing peoples’ lives by managing and securing digital devices and smart places with broadband speed, coverage, and control.
- Future of Work – Making it easy for people and businesses to do their best work by connecting and cultivating talent and improving efficiency, collaboration, and communication.
- Interactive + Immersive Experiences – Connecting people everywhere with enhanced entertainment, gaming and digital experiences.
- Personalized Experiences – Creating unique experiences for customers with all abilities.
The accelerator is focused on startups utilizing innovative technologies including, but not limited to, accessibility tech; enhanced broadband connectivity; artificial intelligence; machine learning; blockchain; voice control; virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.
Comcast NBCUniversal and Techstars will select up to 12 startups to participate in this immersive 13-week program with Demo Day scheduled for October 1, 2020 in the Ralph J. Roberts Forum at Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia. The startups will work directly with mentors and product experts from across Comcast NBCUniversal’s businesses, including the XFINITY technology, products, and services teams; NBC owned stations; cable networks; Sky; Universal Studios; Universal Theme Parks; DreamWorks Animation; Illumination; Comcast Business; Strategic Development; Comcast Spectacor (including esports joint venture T1 Entertainment & Sports and professional esports team Philadelphia Fusion); Comcast Ventures; and LIFT Labs, as well as mentors from Techstars’ expansive network. The companies also receive access to workspace for a year in LIFT Labs PHL in the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia.
Techstars’ KJ Singh will serve as the Managing Director of the 2020 accelerator for the second year, leveraging his extensive business experience to help lead the program’s strategy, and recruit, select, and elevate the class, working in collaboration with the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs team led by Danielle Cohn, Vice President, Entrepreneurial Engagement and Head of LIFT Labs. During the program, he will advise the companies on product and market fit, growth tactics, fundraising strategies, and other topics.
Sumorwuo Zaza, Founder and CEO of NICKL PASS, and alumni of the 2019 Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, said of his experience: “I encourage anyone who wants to be more bold, more ambitious and more impactful in what they are building to apply. You have access to incredible leaders who give you feedback and advice, which can supercharge you in a meaningful way.”
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, Comcast Interactive Capital, in 1999, which was combined with NBCUniversal’s Peacock Fund in 2011 to form Comcast Ventures and has since grown into one of the most active corporate venture arms in the country. For more information, including access to free resources, visit www.ComcastNBCULIFT.com or follow @LIFT_Labs on Twitter.