This cycle of the annual accelerator took startups focusing on connected living, immersive and inclusive experiences, and smart, sustainable enterprise. The applicants came from more than 30 countries, with the final cohort representing the US, Canada, Iceland and the UK.
Founders will participate in workshops on fundraising, corporate partnerships, PR and the like during the 12-week program, which starts today and concludes with a Demo Day on Nov. 2. As with previous cohorts, startups in the accelerator receive up to $120,000 in exchange for 6% equity.
Philly is represented this year by LLUNA, cofounded by CEO Jess Podgajny and CTO Aaron Kamholtz. The HR tech company — one of Technical.ly’s 2021 RealLIST Startups honorable mentions — makes an employee engagement and retention platform.
“The program serves as an opportunity for LLUNA to truly accelerate our growth goals and mission to personalize the future of work,” Podgajny told Technical.ly via email.
The CEO said she’s also planning to close a pre-seed funding round for the startup in September. The round already includes participation from local angel investors and Ben Franklin Technology Partners via Judee Von Seldeneck’s JVS Philadelphia Fund.
And in October, LLUNA will launch the next version of its workplace belonging-focused TeamOS product, which “simplifies the ways we form meaningful connections (regardless of location) and automates insights for teams truly work at their best.”
“We’ve seen great success with our platform thus far, and look forward to October’s update — well timed with our program participation,” Podgajny said.
The rest of the 2022 cohort is made up of these companies, with descriptions provided by LIFT Labs:
- Collectiv.TV (Montréal) — Collectiv.TV’s platform helps creators and content owners to distribute and monetize their content on free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST).
- eino (New York City) — The pioneer in AI solutions for consumer and enterprise network management, eino offers a cloud- based platform for automated and efficient capacity planning and orchestration.
- Fade (San Francisco) — Fade Technology connects IP and Advertising content to commerce on OTT, SVOD, FAST streaming services, and digital publishing platforms allowing viewers to make in-video purchase directly.
- Imaginario (London) — Imaginario is an AI-powered platform and API that identifies specific moments in video and audio in seconds, allowing content marketers and creators to discover, find, and clip content faster.
- Kosmi (Reykjavik, Iceland) — Kosmi enables users to build their own virtual space where they can hang out, watch videos, play games, chat, and create together online.
- Kyd Labs (New York City) — KYD is a blockchain-enabled event ticketing platform that unlocks long term loyalty, resale revenue for live event hosts and ensures buyers get authentic resale tickets.
- Mtion (Toronto) — Mtion connects streamers with their fans through shared 3D experiences.
- Neon Wild (Miami) — Neon Wild transforms any child into a custom avatar as the star of immersive stories and games.
- NNext (New York City) — NNext is an open-source, vector search database tailored for ML apps that stores the useful intermediate outputs of ML applications not captured by current database solutions.
- Parallux (New York City) — Parallux makes it easy for brands and creators to design, build, and host 3D virtual spaces in the metaverse.
- Visura (New York City) — Visura is a marketplace for publishers to license visual content from freelancers.
While some past cohorts during the pandemic have been held remotely, this one will be hybrid, with most programming taking place at the Comcast Technology Center alongside some virtual components. (Comcast also announced this month that employees are expected back in the office three days a week starting in September.)
Podgajny said LLUNA is headquartered in Delaware County’s Wayne, but operates via a remote-first model, and half of its six full-time employees are local. During the accelerator, the CEO will work out of the Comcast tower with other teammates joining periodically. Psst: The startup is hiring for an engineering lead.
This LIFT Labs cohort will be overseen by Techstars Managing Director KJ Singh and Comcast NBCUniversal VP of Startup Engagement Danielle Cohn and Executive Director of Startup Engagement Luke Butler.
The cohort will also meet with experienced founders, business leaders and subject matter experts. These mentors include leaders from the Xfinity technology, product, and experience teams, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast stations, NBCUniversal cable networks, Universal Studios, Universal Theme Parks, DreamWorks Animation, Comcast Business, Comcast Ventures and Sky.
Since the first 2018 cohort, 43 companies have completed the accelerator, and about 70% have secured pilots of deals with a division of NBCUniversal, according to the company.
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