Today we got one of the first well-defined glimpses at what that will look like: the comms giant announced the tower will hold the first location of a multi-city program called LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs, focused on assisting startups in the media, entertainment and connectivity spaces.
The program, set to open in early 2018 on the fourth floor of the new tower, will include a variety of remote and on-site programs including an entrepreneurs’ resource center and programming on several topics like designing go-to-market strategies.
Although the specific square footage of the space has not been disclosed, the space is projected to take up the whole fourth floor of the building.
Most notably, the space will house Philly’s first Techstars-powered startup accelerator, which is expected to host an initial cohort of 10-12 companies. Startups from all over the world will be able to apply to the program, which will kick off the application program January 8, 2018.
For Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer at Comcast Cable, the program is the “next logical extension” of Comcast’s efforts to stimulate the entrepreneurial climate.
“A core principle of how we want that place to be is that it has ‘breathable walls,’ like it’s part of the tech community,” Schwartz told Technical.ly. The exec said the space will allow entrepreneurs to attend events and interact with Comcast technologists.
Danielle Cohn, Director of Entrepreneurial Engagement at Comcast, said the company spent a year and a half doing focus groups asking the community how the program could meet expectations. (Full disclosure, Technical.ly was a part of those conversations as part of the Tomorrow Tour event series and ebook).
Cohn also praised Techstars’ participation in the project and its ability to leverage its global brand to select a diverse roundup of startups. One caveat: companies around the world will compete to join the accelerator, so Philly startups aren’t guaranteed a spot.
Participation from Boulder, Colo.-founded accelerator puts all those visits in fresh context. It also reminds of us what Techstars’ managing director Jenny Fielding told us once: for Philly to get a Techstars accelerator, it needed a champion. (We’ll have a follow-up story on the Philly Techstars accelerator tomorrow.)
But for Cohn, the big news here is the whole scope of resources the Center aims to deliver.
“In addition [to the accelerator], there will be many programs that will run around [the LIFT Labs space] for the community centered on media, entertainment and connectivity,” she said.
A second LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs program is also scheduled to open up shop in Atlanta in 2018.
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