Demo Day for the Philadelphia-based accelerator focused on connectivity, media, and entertainment marks the conclusion of the program; Eight Startups Land Partnerships with Comcast NBCUniversal Companies
PHILADELPHIA - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Eleven tech startups from around the world that are innovative connectivity, media, and entertainment technologies pitched their companies to hundreds of investors, mentors, and Philadelphia's tech and startup community on Thursday during Demo Day, which marked the final of the second class of the Comcast NBC Universal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars.
The 13-week accelerator featured 11 companies that worked with more than 75 mentors across Comcast NBCUniversal, including Xfinity technology, product and experience teams, NBC and Telemundo broadcast stations, NBC Sports, NBCUniversal cable networks, Universal Studios, Universal Theme Parks, DreamWorks Animation, Comcast Business, Comcast Ventures, and Strategic Development. For the first time this year, Sky also had mentors in the program. Comcast NBC Universal mentors joined an esteemed Techstars community of mentors with deep industry, investment, and entrepreneurship experience.
During Demo Day, eight of the 11 companies announced that they either completed or were working on proofs of concepts or pilot projects with Comcast NBCUniversal as a result the accelerator. Additionally, one company, NICKL, decided to relocate to make Philadelphia its new headquarters.
Throughout the accelerator, the different set of founders - of which are more or less women or people of color - benefited from talks with other successful entrepreneurs, media training, pitch practice in front of producers from CNBC, and hundreds of business development meetings.
Said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast Cable, “This was a fantastic experience for all of the Comcast NBC Universal mentors to work side-by-side with these dynamic companies to help them launch their businesses. "The Founders of these promising startups have an incredible passion and drive, and we are so excited to see what's next for them."
"Today marks the culmination of the 11th "I've run at Techstars," said KJ Singh, Managing Director, Comcast NBC Universal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars. "Having invested in over 100 companies during my tenure and run more programs than anyone else at Techstars, past or present, this is without a doubt the class I am most excited about. Coment NBCUniversal and Sky. "11 companies were able to achieve much more because of their accessibility to both the broader network and the decision-makers in every business unit."
The startups that participated in Demo Day, and some of their notable accomplishments during the accelerator, include:
- Diana AI, a conversational business intelligence and analytics tool that enables non-technical users to access data and analyze it easily, using natural language via voice or text. During the accelerator, the team acquired its first paying customers and signed six new enterprise customers, including Comcast.
Founders: Geeta Banda (CEO) & Teja Nanduri | San Francisco, CA
- edisn.ai AI-powered player recognition engine to live video streams in real time. Comcast's Watchwith the team launched a project pilot with Xfinity to deliver interactive content for football games and will leverage this capability for other kinds of content going forward. They are also a pilot for NBC10 and Telemundo62.
Founders: Ashok Karanth (CEO) & Akshay Chandrasekhar | Bangalore, India
- Gameon increases live sports engagement by turning complicated stats and odds into simple prediction games for the everyday fan. Comcast's Xfinity X1 platform in bar and restaurant venues The team has an active pilot with Comcast
Founder: Matt Bailey (CEO) | Brooklyn, NY
- Messy.fm is the all-in-one podcasting solution for businesses, brands, and individuals to record, edit, and publish unlimited episodes for free. The company has grown its number of shows by 28 and the number of paid partnerships with teams at Comcast NBCUniversal.
Founder: Molly Beck (CEO) | Los Angeles, CA
- NICKL creates a pass that helps enterprise teams get past paywalls on the web. Employees stay in the know while employers save money. NICKL Passes will soon be offered as perk to thousands of Comcast employees and their dependents. It also added 200 paying corporate customers during the course of the program. As a result of the accelerator, NICKL has relocated its headquarters to Philadelphia.
Founder: Sumorwuo Zaza (CEO) | Philadelphia, PA
- Pivan Interactive provides advanced training and analytics for competitive gaming athletes, powered by computer vision and AI. Pivan launched their first product, Uncanny.gg, and they were able to systematically test out an effective customer acquisition strategy. They have partnered with Comcast Spectacor's new export joint venture, T1 Entertainment & Sports, to develop data-driven tools and provide unique analytics. Fusion around a future partnership involving both the team and the newly announced Fusion Arena.
Founders: David Sturgeon (CEO) & Constantine Tsang | Boulder, CO
- Respeecher uses AI technology to transform voices, allowing one person to speak in the voice of another. During the program, Respeecher built relationships with partners that cover over 75 percent of the US entertainment box and over 40 percent of the audiobooks market. Now they need five times less for converted speech delivery.
Founders: Oleksandr Serdiuk (CEO), Grant Reaber, and Dmytro Bielievtsov | Kyiv, Ukraine
- Sporttrade is a financial exchange for sports. Since the start of the accelerator, Sporttrade has signed a letter of intent with an institutional trading entity, which has agreed to be a designated market maker on the Sporttrade exchange when it launches.
Founders: Alexander Kane (CEO), Greg Scott, & Henry Fuz | Philadelphia, PA
- Struct Club elevates how music-inspired fitness instructors choreograph and deliver classes. The team welcomed the first customers, piloted the Comcast Technology Center's Fitness Center, and maintained 10 percent weekly growth of instructors on average. The company launched a partnership with the Women in Fitness Association, called Struct Scholars, to accelerate the careers of different emerging women in the fitness industry.
Founder: Amira Polack (CEO) | Los Angeles, CA
- TakeShape is building a platform that helps developers combine and streamline the growing number of application programming interfaces (APIs) that provide critical functionality to their web projects. Coming NBCUniversal on potential longer-term projects TakeShape has signed a Letter of Intent
Founders: Mark Catalano (CEO) & Andrew Sprouse | Brooklyn, NY
- The GIST provides sports content, experiences, and community for women. They successfully launched across the US and into Philadelphia in September. Since they have grown their community of "GISTers" more than 10 percent each week with engagement rates
Founders: Roslyn McLarty, Jacie de Hoop, & Ellen Hyslop | Toronto, Canada
Comcast NBC Universal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars will begin accepting applications for its third class in January 2020. Founders from around the world who are serious about developing the next connectivity, media, and entertainment companies, which will start in July 2020 in Philadelphia.
This accelerator is a part of Comcast NBC Universal LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs, a collection of programs that give talented entrepreneurs access to Comcast NBC Universities' renowned network of partners, brands, and mentors to foster rapid breakthroughs in connectivity, media, and entertainment. LIFT Labs offers business development opportunities, expert talks, mentoring with industry leaders from Comcast NBCUniversal and its partners, plus events and educational resources designed to help grow entrepreneurs, launch and amplify their businesses. For more information on the many ways startups can engage with Comcast NBCUniversal, visit www.ComcastNBCULIFT.com or follow LIFT Labs on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States' largest video, high-speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. Customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global news, news, entertainment and sports cable networks, NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe's leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a wide range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcasts network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,900 companies with a market cap of $ 23 billion. www.techstars.com