Comcast NBCUniversal’s LIFT Labs announced the return of its annual accelerator Monday, opening applications for its third cohort of early-stage businesses.
The program, powered by Techstars, will kick off in July for 13 weeks of mentorship and programming. Accepted startups also receive a year of free office space at the Comcast Technology Center in Center City as well as seed funding up to $120,000 per team in exchange for 6 to 10% equity.
Eligible startups from around the globe — last year’s companies hailed from as far as India, Ukraine and Canada, and one Brooklyn-born company even decided to stay and make Philly their new HQ — should fit in the categories of connectivity, media and entertainment.
And this year’s cohort members must be working in one of a few new focus areas: advanced connectivity, future of work, interactive and immersive experiences, and personalized experiences. Compare these to last year’s focus areas of smart places, immersive and interactive experiences, digital-first customer engagement and next-gen marketing. Why the change?
“The more specific focus areas are chosen with input from dozens of business leaders across the enterprise (Comcast NBCUniversal and Sky) based on business priorities that rise to the top,” LIFT Labs head Danielle Cohn told Technical.ly in an email.
The future of work, especially — which LIFT Labs defines as “making it easy for people and businesses to do their best work by connecting and cultivating talent and improving efficiency, collaboration, and communication” — has stood out as an area of interest within the larger Philadelphia tech and workforce development space, including at Comcast, which inked a deal with Philadelphia Works in the fall to pilot the city’s first pay-for-success job training program.
The programming that this year’s cohort will experience will be relatively the same from previous years, but the mentors and opportunities for pilots may differ depending on those focus areas, Cohn said. LIFT Labs will also host events throughout the year to highlight each of the focus areas in more depth “in hopes of meeting high potential startups that may be a fit.”
Interested founders have until April 5 to apply for the 2020 accelerator, and can read more about the new areas of focus and how to apply here.-30-