Launched last year, Disney’s Accelerator program is already making dreams come true.
The program, run in collaboration with Techstars, offers 10 startups $120,000 each, as well as mentoring from a slew of top executives, including Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger. The 13-week program serves to preserve the legacy of Walt Disney, for whom creativity, technology and innovation were founding touchstones, the media company said.
The first class of Disney Accelerator startups, announced last July, “have either raised capital, been acquired or become profitable,” according to Disney, which has also collaborated with a handful of the companies on various projects and products.
For instance, Disney integrated characters from its hit film Inside Out into ChoreMonster, a chore-assigning app for children. And it collaborated with the robotics company Sphero, another accelerator startup, to build an official toy for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, arriving later this year.
Since teaming up with Disney, ChoreMonster has doubled its users and Sphero has raised $45 million in funding. With an eye to the kind of growth that being tapped by the accelerator can potentially unlock, today Disney is announcing a new class of startups.
Among the chosen few are: Imperson, an artificial intelligence platform that enables fans to converse with their favorite fictional characters; MakieLab, which lets kids design their own 3D-printed toys; Open Bionics, which makes affordable bionic hands for amputees; and Pundit, an app that allows users to host an audio Ask Me Anything (AMA) session over Twitter.
Others companies joining the accelerator include the mobile ad platform Decisive; brainwave-reading headset maker EMOTIV; video recommending service FEM Inc.; HYP3R, a location-based social influence platform; virtual reality content aggregator Littlstar; and StatMuse, which aims to help sports fans better parse through stats.