Disney Accelerator Names First Class of Startups
Disney will mentor 11 diverse startups during the first season of its Disney Acclerator program.
The studio announced Monday that it has selected the group of companies to represent a cross-section of technology-driven media and entertainment startups. They are:
Buzzstarter — The world's first scalable programmatic content marketing platform.
ChoreMonster — A web and mobile platform that makes chores fun for kids and turns parents into superheroes.
Codarica — Children's first interaction into the world of code with help from characters Cody Coder and Holly Hacker.
Cogo — Video monetization solutions for content creators.
Jogg — Simplifies the act of acquiring video from anyone by allowing users to gather, edit and share much more than just video from their own devices.
Sphero — The connected play company, fusing digital and physical play by creating robots that a user controls with a smart device.
Sidelines — Fixes the problem of substandard online discussions and comments by sourcing smart, high-quality discussions from its curated team of over 400 experts and distributing these conversations to publishers based on relevance.
SnowShoe — Makes simple, magical pieces of plastic that interact with touch screens to create the perfect bridge between physical items and digital content.
Twigtale — Provides parents with personalized, high-quality, accessible expert advice for every major transition a child undergoes.
Tyffon — An entertainment app development company and creator of the ZombieBooth series with more than 25 million total downloads.
Ubooly — A learning toy that can be customized to know your child's name, teach lessons and much more.
Each company joining the 15-week program will receive $120,000 in seed funding and access to mentorship from top Disney executives, kicking off with CEO Robert Iger and leaders from Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering.
Disney has been aggressively advertising the accelerator since the program was announced in February. The 15 weeks culminates with a demo day in October, where each team will present to industry leaders, Disney executives and investors.
"With Disney Accelerator we are now bringing the creativity and imagination of Disney to early stage startups in a way we have never done before," said Kevin Mayer, executive vp corporate strategy and business development. "We are thrilled by the response we've received and the high caliber of applicants to the program, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge with this excellent group of creative entrepreneurs and really making a difference with these startup companies."
Startup accelerators have become popular within the entertainment industry over the last year. United Talent Agency partnered with the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to start the Viterbi Startup Garage accelerator. Nine companies, including entertainment search and discovery platform Mediahouse and apparel reverse-auction marketplace Taggle, were given $20,000 for the three-month program in 2013.
Warner Bros., meanwhile, launched Media Camp LA in 2013 based on a San Francisco program that Turner had started the previous year. Warners seeded each company with $20,000 and provided workspace on the lot. Five startups graduated out of the program in July, including movie-theater marketplace Dealflicks, online distribution platform Reelhouse Media and video production tool Skit.