Techstars and Comcast NBCUniversal: Elevating Innovative Media, Entertainment and Connectivity Startups

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m joining Techstars as the Managing Director of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator. This accelerator program will take place in LIFT Labs in the new Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia. My mandate is to identify, invest in and support the next breakthrough media, entertainment and connectivity startups.

This new role blends my career experience as a digital product executive with my passion for helping teams bring innovative products to market. Back in 2006, I was a product manager at Flickr, a small and far-from-traditional media company. It was there that I learned first-hand about the byproducts of democratizing content creation and distribution — the pillars that ultimately ushered us into the now-ubiquitous social media era.

Later, as the New Products Lead for the Wall Street Journal, I experienced the opportunities and challenges of developing innovative media distribution methods when I led the team that created WSJ Social, the first standalone publication on Facebook. As the Head of New Products for Disney’s ABC News, I drove  new revenue streams and user experiences and, among other projects, led the creation of a real-time, data-driven, audio-based sentiment tracker for broadcast television, Social Soundtracker.

My experience on both sides of the table — in small, scrappy tech companies and the larger, polished media mainstays — has taught me that a successful future lies in a healthy relationship between the two versus the disruption of one by the other.

I first joined the Techstars family in 2015 as a mentor and immediately fell in love with the process of coaching companies and connecting them to the unique scale opportunities that a bigger, more established company offered. Even after my tenure working with large media companies, I continued to actively advise early-stage companies and connect them to various growth opportunities through my network. Among other things, my homegrown newsletter, Our Little Experiment, has connected a promising startup founder with $100k in funding, placed a CEO with another early-stage company and bridged together entrepreneurs from coast to coast with the opportunities and people that fueled their growth. I look forward to creating more opportunities to further engage my network in this new partnership.

I’m excited to combine Techstars’ proven startup accelerator program with the wisdom of Comcast NBCUniversal’s industry leaders and domain experts. Not only a powerful media and distribution company, Comcast NBCU has been developing technology with people of all demographics and abilities in mind.

When I recently visited their accessibility lab, dedicated to building and applying new technology to real-life and often forgotten use cases— from retina-driven screen navigation to intuitive connected home devices— I was impressed by not only the breadth of their technology stack, but also the acute human focus of it. This rare combination of access to the most influential leaders in media as well as a core, people-centered technology backbone is what gets me excited about our partnership and what will fuel the growth of the most talented teams around the country and the world who join us in Philadelphia. Not only is Philly a burgeoning startup ecosystem with $7B in exit value since 2010, it has an old soul with a heart for producing technological change that makes a difference.

I’m excited to rally the talented people of this combined team to ensure that the companies who join us, from Philadelphia and beyond, will elevate their ideas beyond where they dreamed.

Join us by applying to our program starting in January!