Now in its fifth year, the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator powered by Techstars launched applications for its 2022 cohort Tuesday.
The dozen or so companies chosen for the in-person programming this year will focus on three main categories: connected living, immersive and inclusive experiences, and smart, sustainable enterprises. The categories are chosen each year after consulting with leaders throughout Comcast and its affiliated business, and hearing what they’re looking for in developing new products and solutions.
“They represent the ways in which we interact with each other, connect with family and friends, younger ones and older ones,” Head of LIFT Labs and VP of Startup Engagement Danielle Cohn told Techncial.ly. “It’s also the way we’re making sure things are accessible for all, integrating AI and VR-powered technology and making a commitment to the future of work, and making sure we have the tools teams need to be successful.”
Last year’s cohort focused on connected living, “next gen” entertainment, future of work and personalized experiences. The applicants came from more than 40 countries, with the final cohort representing the US, France, Israel, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. One local success story: Employee Cycle, the Philly-based HR tech startup cofounded by Bruce Marable and Salas Saraiya.
This year’s cohort is also expected to hail from around the world, but with a renewed emphasis that Philadelphia companies are encouraged to apply. Those who are selected will move to Philadelphia and work from the Comcast Technology Center throughout the months of the accelerator, as they did before the pandemic moved some programming online.
The LIFT Labs team will also embark on an eight-city tour to network and reconnect with the startup communities in different regions following the last two years of remote work. Tour stops include Miami on March 23, Atlanta on March 24 and 25, Los Angeles on March 29, Chicago on March 31, Philadelphia on April 20 and New York City on April 21. Additional events are also planned for London and Tel Aviv.
Chosen startups will join the accelerator in Philadelphia in August, and will work under the direction of Cohn, LIFT Labs Executive Director of Startup Engagement Luke Butler and Techstars Managing Director KJ Singh. Over 12 weeks, founders will meet with mentors and product experts from across Comcast NBCUniversal’s businesses. That includes the Xfinity teams, NBC and Telemundo, Sky, Universal Studios, Universal Parks and Resorts, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination, Comcast Business and Comcast Spectacor.
In the accelerator’s five-year history, 72% of participating companies have gone on to do a pilot with Comcast, Butler said. Its overall alumni network includes 43 companies that have raised a combined $96 million. (Alum Sporttrade, the now-Camden based sports betting app founded by Alex Kane, has raised at least $36 million of that.)
“The reason we do this is to genuinely look for exciting startups and disruptive technology that helps us develop new products,” Butler said. “We’re excited to look for companies that have this point of view and are looking to build scalable technology.”
Applications for the accelerator opened Tuesday, and will close May 11. You can check out more info on LIFT Labs’ traveling tour here.
Don't miss your chance to join the fifth class of the @comcast @NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by @Techstars! Applications are now open— apply today! ➡️ https://t.co/x9LlykFPdM 💡🚀 pic.twitter.com/PQVOKsYyIC
— Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs (@LIFT_Labs) March 1, 2022
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