This week Walt Disney Co. kicked off its third annual Disney Accelerator in Los Angeles, revealing nine new startups that have been admitted into the 2016 program.
Each year the mentorship-driven investment program selects up to ten innovative media and entertainment startup companies to participate in a three-month program where they work on developing their ideas with the support and guidance of top Disney executives. Participants also receive $120,000 in investment capital.
With several past Disney Accelerator companies turning into large successes, Disney Accelerator is considered to be one of the best corporate accelerator programs in the world.
This year’s startups range from a myriad of disciplines including cinematic virtual reality, robots with human-like facial expressions, and artificial intelligence, reports TechCrunch. This is also the first year Disney’s accelerator program is fully in-house and not partnering with TechStars, who helped launch Disney’s program in 2014.
“The program has evolved, but we’ve always been very media and entertainment oriented, obviously,” said Michael Abrams, Walt Disney’s Senior VP of Innovation. “What we can do better than other accelerators is to help [entrepreneurs] learn and refine the art of storytelling by working with some of the world’s best creatives, and help them understand the various business segments within media and entertainment from advertising to theme parks.”
Abrams noted a few trends with this year’s applicants, including an increase in AI and robotic startups and a decline with GIF-related companies.
Here are the nine new starts in the 2016 Disney Accelerator:
- Ader: a marketplace that matches brands with eSports and gaming influencers. With over 50 million monthly visitors, the startup as raised $125,000 in funding.
- Atom Tickets: a mobile movie ticketing app that allows users to buy tickets and concessions but also incorporates more social aspects, including allowing users to invite friends to the movies. Atom Tickets has raised $50 million in funding.
- Hanson Robotics: a Hong Kong-based creator of human-like robots with a full-range of facial expressions, intended for both business and consumer markets.
- Jaunt VR: a developer of hardware and software tools that enable cinematic virtual reality content creation. The company has raised over $100 million in funding.
- littleBits: an educational toy maker that makes easy-to-use electronic building blocks for children and encourages them to be creative and innovative. littlebits has raised $60 million in funding.
- Nom: an online live-streaming video community for chefs and foodies. Users can create, share, watch and participate in live videos while interacting with other members.
- OTOY: a holographic content platform that brings light-field rendering and network streaming to virtual reality and augmented reality experiences.
- Playbuzz: a content-creation and audience-engagement platform that focuses on mobile-friendly formats that are optimized for social sharing. Playbuzz has raised nearly $31 million in funding.
- Pley: a toy subscription company that mails members their preferred toys from a catalog of over 500 toys. Members can play, keep or return each toy whenever they wish. The startup has secured over $16 million in funding.