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Call for AI startups: Unlock partnership opportunities with the Vertical AI accelerator from Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs

The program is designed to help enterprise-ready companies rapidly test solutions with Comcast NBCUniversal. March 10 is the deadline to apply.

Comcast NBCUniversal's Startup Showcase. (Courtesy Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs)

This is a sponsored guest post from Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs. A version of it was originally published on its website. LIFT Labs is a Technical.ly Brand Builder client.

The LIFT Labs team is once again on the lookout for the next wave of groundbreaking artificial intelligence startups.

We’re excited to announce applications are open through March 10 for the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator: Vertical AI. The program kicks off this spring, running from April 29 – May 23.

Our mission is straightforward: Connect strategically relevant startups to Comcast NBCUniversal and its global network to create long-term partnerships. The program marks our third AI-focused accelerator and eighth accelerator since 2018. We’ve developed a really strong playbook to help startups learn how to successfully partner with enterprises, including Comcast and its businesses and brands, including NBCUniversal, Xfinity, Sky, Comcast Business, and more.

Apply to the Vertical AI accelerator

Last year, building on our key learnings, we fundamentally restructured our accelerator programs specifically for enterprise-ready startups. We match startups with the right business units and decision-makers to quickly develop proofs-of-concept that demonstrate value and streamline approvals to conduct pilots — all without the issuance of equity in exchange for participation. Successes are celebrated and shared across our organization, encouraging wider collaboration.

It proved to be a winning formula: All 18 companies from our 2023 AI accelerators secured pilot or commercial deals with Comcast, NBCUniversal or Sky.

“It was mind-blowing to see a company the size of Comcast be able to engage at the pace of a startup. We’ve worked with a number of large enterprises, but this has been rather unique,” said Andrei Papancea, CEO and chief product officer at NLX, an alumni startup now working with Comcast’s HR department.

Guy Gadney, cofounder and CEO of Charisma.AI agreed, noting that the LIFT Labs accelerator he completed in 2023 felt much different than other corporate accelerators.

“Other accelerators we’ve done are very much about how we present ourselves outwardly. But this program is focused on the most important things for a company at our stage,” said Gadney. “It helped us build relationships within the Comcast organization. And for that, for us, that was incredibly important.”

Another alumni company is Reality Defender, a deep fake detection platform that can verify the authenticity of audio, video, images and text. Through our accelerator programs, LIFT Labs explored how its technology could serve Comcast and other organizations, eventually leading to our investment in their $15 million Series A fundraising round.

Beyond the Ordinary: Unique Benefits of Joining Our Accelerator Program

Our theme-driven, tightly scheduled accelerators focus on rapidly testing solutions with the goal of fostering long-term partnerships.

We are not helping founders build every facet of their businesses, and we’re not focused on endless pitch practice. We help startups better understand customer pain points and learn best practices for selling to large enterprises. Startups accepted to our accelerators benefit from expert insights on corporate partnership dynamics, all while leaving ample time for founders to continue to run their ongoing business operations.

Our first accelerator focus for 2024 is Vertical AI, targeting startups that integrate AI into everyday employee workflows at all levels.

We’re particularly interested in businesses ready to deploy AI on a broad scale. The accelerator includes two weeks at Comcast HQ in Philadelphia, visits to other Comcast offices around the country, and remote work weeks. With typically 6 to 10 startups per cohort, our tailored approach ensures that each company receives a personalized growth plan, as opposed to one-size-fits-all programming.

Another advantage is support from LIFT Labs long after the program officially ends.

Our team will continue identifying new partnership opportunities, strategizing on ways to turn pilots into longer-term deals, guiding founders through corporate processes, and exposing startups to relevant teams throughout Comcast NBCUniversal and our broader global network.

“LIFT Labs works as an extension of our team and was there to support us throughout the program and beyond,” said Cody Coleman, cofounder and CEO of Coactive, who completed the accelerator in spring 2023. “We still have bi-weekly meetings, and they are always looking for opportunities to promote us with speaking engagements, meetings with executives or media opportunities. The program never really ends, they continue supporting us long after the official end date.”

Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with VentureFuel, an organization helping corporations foster collaborations with startups. Their knowledge, global network, and experience will amplify our efforts and help position startups for even greater success.

Interested in applying to our Vertical AI accelerator? Know a startup that’s a perfect fit? Visit our website or submit an application. Applications are open until March 10.

Apply to the Vertical AI accelerator

Companies: Comcast
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