We are excited to announce Techstars Class 135 – the 10 companies that will be joining us in Philadelphia for our inaugural Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars.
While they all collectively fall into this program’s overarching media, entertainment and connectivity focus areas, these companies range widely in their angle —from gaming, to augmented reality, to IoT. And their founders, who were selected from a diverse pool of applicants spanning 38 countries, will be joining us from all over the world —from Philadelphia to Singapore.
Starting today, we kick off this Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator program, which will conclude with Demo Day on October 11th. While in Philadelphia, these companies will have access to a curated range of over 140 mentors from both the greater Techstars community — the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed — and from across Comcast NBCUniversal’s businesses, including the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, film studios, cable networks, Comcast Ventures, and Xfinity products and services. These mentors were hand selected for their unique interest and ability to help these companies grow.
Techstars is proud to have an incredible partner in Comcast NBCUniversal, who we have worked closely with to craft a one-of-a-kind program I am thrilled to share with our companies. This is going to be an amazing year for our program and the Philadelphia startup community!
Here are the companies participating in the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars:
Applications for the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, are now open through April 8th! Our first program will run July through October of this year and will take place in Comcast NBCUniversal’s global headquarters in Philadelphia.
The Companies We Are Interested In
In general, and in order of priority, Techstars places a high emphasis on team, market, progress and idea when it comes to selecting startups, but each program selects the companies that best fit its thesis.
For this accelerator, we are interested in applications from companies that are creating and/or utilizing technologies including (but not limited to) IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual or augmented reality, wireless communication systems, robotics, accessibility tech, blockchain, and voice — in the effort to solve problems in these key areas:
- Entertainment everywhere: Intuitively connecting consumers with engaging content in any form, on any device, anywhere.
- Next-gen marketing: Transforming marketing and advertising to meet shifting consumer behavior in the digital world.
- Breakthrough Experiences: Introducing new digital media experiences with well-fortified business models that produce win-wins for both content producers and audiences.
- Direct-to-Consumer: Introducing brands with the potential to create their own culture and following among consumers.
- Connected home/life: Empowering users to connect with the people, places and things that matter most.
- Smart Cities: Making physical products and spaces more intelligent through advanced sensors, devices and networks.
- Digital Wellness: Enabling better, more accessible well being through enhanced content and connectivity.
Above all, we are interested in meeting the teams who are in the best position to accelerate their companies’ growth and success by leveraging what our program offers — and who are also driven by the fundamental bias to make the world better.
Our Partner Comcast NBCUniversal’s Commitment to Our Program and Companies
In addition to Techstars’ global network, selected companies will receive access to and mentorship from decision makers at Comcast and NBCUniversal. We are excited to combine Techstars’ proven accelerator program with the wisdom of Comcast NBCUniversal’s industry leaders and domain experts. Our aim for the program is to produce triple-wins: Wins for the selected companies, who will not only benefit from our tried-and-true accelerator programming, but also from the unique access to potential opportunities offered by our partner, Comcast NBCUniversal; wins for Techstars, in continuing to build on our strong portfolio and be the network that helps entrepreneurs succeed; and wins for our partner, which is interested in supporting and cultivating entrepreneurs’ intent on developing the next generation of game-changing media, entertainment, and connectivity products that may also positively impact their customers and audiences.
Applications are due April 8th — start your application today.
Got questions? Attend one of the following AMAs to learn more about the program and talk to us live:
Let’s meet! Please fill out this form to request a meeting and mention which one of the cities or events below you’d like to meet at. Follow me on Twitter for the latest updates on locations and dates:
- Austin, Texas: Jan 24-25
- Mexico City, Mexico: Jan 31-Feb 1
- Miami, FL: Feb 7-8 (Black Tech Week)
- San Francisco & Redwood City, CA: Feb 13,14 (Startup Grind Global Conference)
- Los Angeles, CA: Feb 20-21
- Barcelona, Spain: Feb 26-Mar 1
- Philadelphia, PA: March 6-7 (& ongoing)
- Austin, Texas: March 9-11 (SXSW)
- Boulder, CO: March 15
- Boston, MA: March 19-20
- New York, NY: March 29-30 (& ongoing)
- Portland, OR: April 2-3
- Vancouver, Canada: April 4-6
And if you’re not planning on visiting these areas and/or the dates don’t match with your availability, don’t fret! You can still request a meeting; just let me where you are based on this form and we’ll do our best to chat with you.
But you don’t need to schedule a meeting to apply! You can, of course, still apply to the program right away.
I’m excited to learn about your company!
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!