Disney launches startup program, ‘Disney Accelerator’

Disney has always had innovation at its core. From the Multiplane Camera to Audio-Animatronics and the introductions of the first cartoon with fully synchronised sound, animated feature film and modern theme park, Disney has always been at the forefront of technology. In February it had announced a new approach in its commitment to technology and the future of entertainment: the Disney Accelerator program, powered by Techstars. Disney Accelerator offers a unique collaboration between some of the best creative minds in the entertainment industry and the modern-day visionaries who are starting businesses on the strength of exciting new ideas. Disney Accelerator, a mentorship-driven seed-stage investment program – will tap ten early-stage companies with innovative consumer media and entertainment ideas to participate in the three-month program, which began on 30 June. Participants will receive up to $120,000 in investment capital to develop their ideas, along with mentor support from top Disney execs with the likes of chairman and CEO Bob Iger, and leaders from Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering, among others pitching in. Additionally, entertainment industry leaders, venture capitalists and Techstars’ extensive network of entrepreneurs, investors and executives will team up as mentors for Disney Accelerator. Along with unparalleled access to stories, characters, technology and other resources from across The Walt Disney Company, selected teams will also present their companies and products to industry leaders and investors during an Investor Demo Day on 14 October. This is a great initiative by Disney and its certainly going to help the global animation industry. Kudos for this venture!