Comcast NBCUniversal announced the 11 startups selected for the second Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars. The startups were chosen from hundreds of applicants from 46 countries and whose businesses focused on developing the next generation of connectivity, media, and entertainment. They will call Comcast NBCUniversal's global headquarters in Philadelphia home for the duration of the 13-week program.
The startups, which includes one-third of the companies having a female founder, will partner with mentors and teams at the new Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia where LIFT Labs occupies an entire floor dedicated to working with the startup community. They will also participate in custom workshops, training sessions, and business meetings unique to the company and its LIFT Labs program throughout the course of the accelerator.
"We are incredibly excited by the passion, drive, and foresight of the founders of these companies," said Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer, Comcast. "The program will provide them with support and access to Comcast NBCUniversal leadership and help them push their boundaries in new ways to produce more competitive and successful businesses. At the same time, we will learn from some of the best new entrepreneurs in technology."
The 13-week program positions the companies for possible partnerships with Comcast NBCUniversal's partners and brands. The startups will work directly with mentors and product experts from across Comcast NBCUniversal's businesses, including the XFINITY technology, product and experience teams; the NBC and Telemundo broadcast stations; NBCUniversal cable networks; Universal Studios; Universal Theme Parks; DreamWorks; Comcast Business; Comcast Ventures; Strategic Development; as well as mentors from Techstars' network.
A selection committee made up of Techstars experts and leaders from several Comcast NBCUniversal business units screened the startup applicants working in four primary areas of focus: smart places, immersive + interactive experiences, digital-first customer engagement, and next-gen marketing.
The 2019 class includes:
- Diana AI, San Francisco: Diana AI is a conversational business intelligence and analytics tool that enables non-technical users to access enterprise data and analyze it easily, using natural language via voice or text. Founders: Geeta Banda (CEO) & Teja Nanduri
- Edisn.ai, Bangalore, India: Edisn.ai delivers interactive and personalized content to sports fans by applying its AI-powered player recognition engine to live video streams in real time. Founders: Ashok Karanth (CEO) & Akshay Chandrasekhar
- GameOn, Brooklyn, NY: GameOn increases live sports engagement by turning complicated stats and odds into simple prediction games for the everyday fan. Founder: Matt Bailey (CEO)
- Messy.fm, Los Angeles: Messy.fm is the all-in-one podcasting solution for businesses, brands, and individuals to record, edit, and publish unlimited episodes for free. Founder: Molly Beck (CEO)
- NICKL, Brooklyn, NY: NICKL enables individuals and organizations to personalize and manage their digital content subscriptions in one place. Founder: Sumorwuo Zaza (CEO)
- Pivan Interactive, Boulder, CO: Pivan provides advanced training and analytics for competitive gaming athletes, powered by computer vision and AI. Founders: David Sturgeon (CEO) & Constantine Tsang
- Respeecher, Kiev, Ukraine: Respeecher uses AI technology to transform voices, allowing one person to speak in the voice of another. Founders: Oleksandr Serdiuk (CEO), Grant Reaber, & Dmytro Bielievtsov
- Sporttrade, Philadelphia: Sporttrade is a peer-to-peer sports betting marketplace. Founders: Alexander Kane (CEO), Greg Scott, & Henry Fuz
- Struct Club, Los Angeles: Struct Club elevates how music-inspired fitness instructors choreograph and deliver classes. Founder: Amira Polack (CEO)
- TakeShape, Brooklyn, NY: TakeShape enables one-click integrations that allow developers to easily combine data from the JAMstack without having to write new code. Founders: Mark Catalano (CEO) & Andrew Sprouse
- The GIST, Toronto, Canada: The GIST provides sports content, experiences, and community for women. Founders: Roslyn McLarty, Jacie deHoop, & Ellen Hyslop
Techstars' veteran KJ Singh will serve as the Managing Director of the 2019 accelerator. He has run 10 accelerator programs at Techstars since 2013.
At the conclusion of the accelerator on Oct. 10, the companies will pitch their businesses to investors, mentors, Comcast NBCUniversal leaders, and members of the tech and startup community during Demo Day in the Ralph J. Roberts Forum in the Comcast Technology Center. In addition, each company will have access to work space at LIFT Labs in Philadelphia until June 2020.
As a result of the inaugural Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, eight out of 10 of the startups secured partnerships or pilot programs with Comcast NBCUniversal businesses.