Disney Accelerator Showcases 10 Promising Start-Ups At Demo Day

Start-ups announce product launches and funding, as well as programs with The Walt Disney Company

07 Oct, 2015, 19:00 ET from The Walt Disney Company

BURBANK, Calif., Oct. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the 2015 Disney Accelerator powered by Techstars, a program designed to accelerate the growth of start-up companies from around the world, hosted a Demo Day where the 10 participating companies presented their businesses to the investment and entrepreneurial communities, industry leaders and Disney executives. Many of the companies announced product launches and funding, as well as new relationships and programs with several divisions of The Walt Disney Company, including ABC, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, ESPN, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and others.

During the three-month Disney Accelerator program the participants received up to $120,000 in investment capital to develop their ideas, along with mentor support from top Disney executives. Mentors included Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger, and leaders from Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering, plus Techstars' extensive network of entrepreneurs, investors and executives.

"Disney Accelerator has allowed us to work with some of the world's most innovative start-ups who are developing products, experiences, and technologies that will help shape the future of entertainment," said Kevin Mayer, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "Their entrepreneurial spirit, combined with Disney's experience, make for a powerful combination—and we are excited to partner with many of them as they continue their journeys."

The Disney Accelerator 2015 start-up companies are as follows:

  • Decisive: Decisive analyzes and predicts how audiences will respond to images and video on social media platforms. While in Disney Accelerator, Decisive exited the mobile ad business to launch a new predictive social analytics platform for brands.
  • EMOTIV:  EMOTIV creates technology to enable everyone to build a relationship with their brain. EMOTIV Insight is a wearable for your brain that monitors emotions, improves mental performance and controls both virtual and physical objects with thoughts.  EMOTIV Insight is available now.
  • FEM Inc.: FEM Inc. engages diverse audiences with Prizma, a platform that powers personalized video experiences using principles of neuroscience. During the Disney Accelerator, FEM Inc. launched Prizma and announced $3M in Series Seed funding.
  • HYP3R: HYP3R makes it easy for businesses to engage influential customers at specific locations on a personal level, in real-time. Since joining Disney Accelerator, HYP3R enhanced its engagement platform and has seen 100% revenue growth every month.
  • imperson: imperson is pioneering conversational media, driven by artificial intelligence, so fans can message their favorite movie and TV characters. Today imperson announced that it will be working with the team at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media Labs to create a new messaging experience for The Muppets featuring Miss Piggy coming later this fall. 
  • Littlstar: Littlstar is a Virtual Reality and 360 video consumer destination and developer platform, where audiences can discover and share premium immersive content. Littlstar is live on iPhone, Android, Web, and the Gear VR, with more devices coming. Creators are running exclusive VR content on Littlstar and building on their platform.
  • MakieLab: MakieLab lets kids bring toys to life by building their own customizable 3D-printed toys through creative games and apps. Since joining Disney Accelerator, MakieLab has opened up an office in Los Angeles to expand into the US market. MakieLab will be introducing Disney, Disney•Pixar and Marvel-branded accessories for Makie dolls, as well as helping kids create their own versions of a Star Darling - inspired by Disney's brand-new franchise for girls – in Fall 2016.
  • Open Bionics: Open Bionics is turning children with limb differences into Super Heroes, creating low-cost, 3D printed, bionic hands for amputees. Today Open Bionics revealed custom bionic hands for kids. The Walt Disney Company is generously donating the time of its creative teams and providing royalty free licenses, which will allow Open Bionics to offer Disney-inspired bionic hands for kids from franchises such as Star Wars, Marvel's Iron Man and Disney's Frozen.  Industrial Light & Magic's xLAB division and Walt Disney Animation Studios supported the design efforts.
  • Pundit: Pundit is talk for mobile & social — an easy way to create, share and respond to stories with your voice. While participating in Disney Accelerator, Pundit piloted "Pundit Talks" with top talent from Disney Music Group and Radio Disney. Pundit beta is currently available in the App Store.
  • StatMuse: StatMuse is an interactive platform for sports fans to search, share, and discover sports, powered by simple natural language. On StatMuse, every search result is a piece of content and every sports fan becomes a content creator. StatMuse announced today that it will officially launch StatMuse.com later this month, and starting this basketball season, StatMuse is contributing to ESPN's statistical basketball content.

Last year's Disney Accelerator companies have reached many milestones since completing the program.  All of the 2014 startups have raised capital, been acquired or become profitable since joining the 2014 Disney Accelerator, and many of the participating companies have launched products and programs in conjunction with The Walt Disney Company, including Sphero's hugely successful BB-8 droid toy that was released on Force Friday. For more information about the Disney Accelerator program, please visit http://DisneyAccelerator.com.

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $48.8 billion in fiscal 2014.

About Techstars

Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to live. With dozens of mentorship-driven accelerator programs and thousands of community programs worldwide, Techstars exists to support the world's most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey, from inspiration to IPO. Techstars provides access to tens of thousands of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners, allowing entrepreneurs to accelerate the pace of innovation and do more faster. Techstars supports every stage of the entrepreneurial journey – from early stage grassroots community development to more formal opportunities that provide education, experience, acceleration, funding, and beyond.

Contact:
Kirsten Erickson
The Walt Disney Company
818-931-3886
Kirsten.Erickson@Disney.com

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SOURCE The Walt Disney Company



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