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David and MickeyAt Techstars, we are 100% focused on changing the way startups are built by arming them with a massive interconnected network of amazing founders, mentors, and advisors. Building this network with high quality is our true north, and is why we exist.

Today we are adding a very powerful new node to the Techstars network. We are thrilled to announce Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars, and based in Los Angeles.

Disney Accelerator combines the magic of The Walt Disney Company with the mentorship-driven accelerator model of Techstars to offer a unique advantage for technology startups in the media and entertainment space. Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney World, SportsCenter, Disney Store, Buzz Lightyear, Disney Infinity, Jimmy Kimmel, Iron Man, Yoda (!!!!) — the breadth of influence and impact that our new partner provides to culture and business is beyond profound. Disney has an incredible legacy of creativity and innovation that dates directly to the entrepreneurial spirit of Walt Disney himself.

Companies selected to participate in Disney Accelerator will receive $120,000 in investment capital to develop their ideas, along with mentor support from top Disney executives, including Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger, and leaders from Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering, among others. Mentors will also include other entertainment industry leaders, venture capitalists, and of course our extensive network of entrepreneurs and executives. Participants will have access to stories, characters, technology and other resources from across The Walt Disney Company. The program begins June 30 and concludes with a demo day in September in which each team will present their product to an audience of industry leaders and investors.

In addition, I’m happy to announce Cody Simms as Managing Director of Disney Accelerator. Cody has been operating at the intersection of technology and media/entertainment since the late 1990s and has been an advisor, mentor and friend to many startups along the way. He most recently was Chief Product Officer at StumbleUpon and prior to that was VP Product for Yahoo!’s entertainment portfolio globally. He’ll be joined in Los Angeles by Techstars veteran Kelsey Morgan and program coordinator Yohei Nakajima, who joins us from the Santa Monica coworking space Coloft.

Visit www.disneyaccelerator.com for details on the program and to apply by April 16, 2014.

“Do or do not, there is no try.”

David Cohen
(@davidcohen) Founder & Co-CEO of Techstars, previously founder of several technology companies. David is an active startup advocate, advisor, board member, and technology advisor who comments on these topics on his blog at DavidGCohen.com