Whether you call it a business incubator or an idea accelerator, these intensive mentoring and learning experiences are designed to help small companies grow into successful big ones. For a company like the Walt Disney Company, the Disney Accelerator is a crucial strategy to develop relationships with tomorrow’s influential companies early. Disney has had good success in the past and this new class of startups is bound to have at few breakouts as well.
The companies in the accelerator will have access to the right people at Disney who can help them harness the creativity, imagination, and expertise of The Walt Disney Company, providing them unprecedented access to Disney’s leadership team, mentorship, and support. In the end there is likely to be some synergy with existing of future Disney projects.
Since the Disney Accelerator began in 2014, many of the companies continue to work with Disney on successful products and services. Sphero released the BB-8 App-enabled Droid, the number one Star Wars toy of 2015, and they have a multi-property lineup for this year including the App-enabled Ultimate Lightning McQueen, the voice interactive Spider-Man, and more. Atom Tickets, a new movie ticketing app, partnered with “Rogue One, A Star Wars Story” in 2016 to bring ticketing and exclusive merchandise to mobile phones, and continues to work with Walt Disney Studios on major film releases. And over the past three years, imperson has developed conversational chatbots powered by their Artificial Intelligence for several Disney projects, including most recently for Walt Disney World’s Pandora – The World of Avatar.
“The Disney Accelerator has provided The Walt Disney Company incredible opportunities to connect with and be inspired by many talented entrepreneurs from all over the world,” said Michael Abrams, Senior Vice President, Innovation, The Walt Disney Company. “This year, more than ever, we are working with companies with the potential to help define the future of media and entertainment together with Disney.”
The 2017 Disney Accelerator companies include:
- Ambidio: an innovative sound company that creates a continuous sound field with a sense of depth and dimension through any device with stereo speakers, bringing an immersive sound experience to everyone.
- aXiomatic: a broad-based esports company built by leading sports team owners with ownership interests in esports teams and esports content distribution. The company has a majority stake in Team Liquid, a top esports team in the US and Europe with 60 pro players, coaches, and analysts competing in nine games as well as a minority stake in Super League Gaming.
- Brit + Co: a digital media company that inspires, educates and entertains real women with a creative spirit. Through inspirational content, online classes, and products, Brit + Co enables their audience of over 125 million to use creativity to shape their best lives.
- Epic Games: creators of Unreal Engine technology, which is used by millions of developers to ship visually stunning, high-quality games and experiences across PC, console, mobile, VR and AR platforms. Developers also choose Epic’s Unreal Engine for cinematic production, visualization, design and simulation. Epic is known for creating the Unreal, Gears of War and Infinity Blade series of games, as well as newer titles such as Fortnite, Paragon and Robo Recall.
- Hoodline: a local news and content discovery platform, that uses machine learning to distribute geotagged and relevant content from hundreds of media partners into websites or mobile apps. Hoodline also analyzes data sets to unlock insights for businesses and media companies.
- Kahoot!: a game-based learning platform with more than 50 million monthly active users in 180 countries. Kahoot! makes it easy to create, discover, play, and share fun learning games in minutes—for any subject, in any language, on any device, for all ages.
- ProductionPro: a tool for storytellers and creators focused on improving creative collaboration in Film, TV, and Theatre production. ProductionPro pulls scripts, research, designs, and continuity together to empower creative decision-making.
- ReplyYes: a frictionless e-commerce over mobile messaging experience: customers simply reply “YES” to buy the product and have it delivered. ReplyYes utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning to create personalized e-commerce experiences that inspire transactions.
- Samba TV: a data and analytics company providing essential television insights by leveraging a source of real-time, opt-in viewership data across broadcast, cable TV, OTT, and digital media. Through software integrations with smart TV manufacturers, Samba recognizes content and associated viewership patterns making TV audiences more addressable and measurable while helping marketers activate cross-screen campaigns and maximize their impact.
- Savioke: a robotics company that develops and deploys autonomous indoor delivery robots that work alongside people in busy environments such as hotels, logistics facilities, and high-rise apartment buildings. The company’s flagship product, Relay, is an autonomous delivery robot that is already installed in dozens of hotels worldwide.
- The VOID: a location-based entertainment company that fully immerses guests in virtual experiences with friends and family, engaging all of their senses. The VOID combines interactive sets, virtual reality, real-time effects, and state of the art technology to bring guests into their experience.
The 2017 Disney Accelerator is helping shape the future at the intersection of entertainment and technology with some of today’s most innovative entrepreneurs who are creating new entertainment formats, developing new technologies and reimagining digital monetization and personalization.
If you could create one piece of technology that would make your Disney vacation experience more enjoyable what would it be? Maybe you have your own startup?