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The Walt Disney company announces third year of startup accelerator program

Friday, Feb 05, 2016
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The Walt Disney Company announced today that it is accepting applications for its third Disney Accelerator, a program designed to accelerate the growth of startup companies from around the world. Ten exceptional startup companies will be selected for a three-month mentorship and investment program that will immerse them in the media and entertainment business. The program begins this summer and concludes with a Demo Day in October 2016. Applications are due April 10, 2016.

"The past two years of the Disney Accelerator have led to incredible innovation and success between The Walt Disney Company and our participating startups, helping to establish the Disney Accelerator as the premier media and entertainment accelerator," said Kevin Mayer, Chief Strategy Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "We look forward to further shaping the future of our industry through this unique program."

The Los Angeles-based program is open to both early and venture-backed technology startups with a vision for making an impact on the future of media and entertainment. The Disney Accelerator provides participating companies investment capital, access to co-working space at Disney's creative campus and mentor support and guidance from top Disney executives, entrepreneurs, investors and other notable business leaders from the entertainment and technology communities.

Since the Disney Accelerator started in 2014, companies from across the United States, Europe and Asia have participated in building the future of media and entertainment with technologies as diverse as robotics, artificial intelligence, wearables, messaging and virtual reality, for example:

 

  • •    Sphero, based in Boulder, Colorado, joined the Disney Accelerator in 2014 and developed the successful BB-8 droid in collaboration with Lucasfilm during the program. Sphero's BB-8 sold out the day it was released and was dubbed the 'Best Star Wars Toy Ever' by Forbes. Since completing the program, Sphero raised an additional $45 million in venture capital, bringing their total financing to $80 million.
  • •    Los Angeles based Naritiv, the first media company born on Snapchat, was created during the 2014 Disney Accelerator, and recently secured $3 million in Series A funding. Naritiv's total network on Snapchat currently generates more than 16 billion views per month and has delivered more than one billion total branded views to date.
  • •    EMOTIV, a 2015 Disney Accelerator company, is the developer of the Insight wireless headset, which measures brain fitness and emotions. EMOTIV's Insight was recently featured on ABC Television's 'The Bachelor.' With offices in Australia, Vietnam and San Francisco, EMOTIV has sold hardware and software to 70,000 developers and researchers in 120 countries and has already built a profitable business.
  • •    StatMuse entered the Disney Accelerator in 2015 as a three-person team and launched a public beta of its interactive sports stats platform powered by natural language search on Demo Day. Now a team of 12, StatMuse is currently providing ESPN with statistical content for the NBA season and closed $10 million in Series A financing in January 2016.


About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $52.5 billion in fiscal 2015.

Contact:

Kirsten Erickson
The Walt Disney Company
818-931-3886
Kirsten.Erickson@Disney.com

 

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