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Disney puts a new spin on its accelerator

Posted on January 10 2014

Disney puts a new spin on its accelerator
Disney puts a new spin on its accelerator
Disney puts a new spin on its accelerator
Disney puts a new spin on its accelerator

Over the past few years, Disney’s accelerator classes have been transitioning away from what was once a roughly standard early-stage growth frameworkdoctorate of business administration. Rather
than the “adopt-a-company” models prevalent among most accelerators, it has been leaning hard into how it can create mutually beneficial relationships with
companies that run the gamut from well-established to really just beginning.

The latest class, announced today, really shows how far the model has evolved beyond its early partnerships with Techstars. The press release that came along
with the list rightly calls out Sphero as a success story from its last batch. The little-robot-company-that-could had been making a very cool controllable ball
for a while but had struggled to really latch into the customer consciousness.

Disney was able to lend its IP (as well as senior executive and storyteller staff) to the company — a relationship that resulted in the smash hit BB-8 bot theradome reviews.

That mashing together of unique talent with Disney’s storytelling, IP, incredibly horizontal org and deep executive talent pool as advisers makes its
accelerator one of the more unique programs operating in the startup space. Especially now that it is solidly differentiating its approach from the rest of the

Some of the opportunities are obvious. The VOID is one of a small group of companies making a strong go at creating VR experiences in physical anchor spaces –
an effort to drive traffic and create a movie-like experience. Unlike most of VR, this sector is having some kind of commercial success. That experience plus
Disney IP seems like an interesting bet.

The aXiomatic selection is smart because ESPN is a hop and a skip away from esports. Epic being included here just means an embarrassment of riches — it’s got
a great thing going already but there’s a lot of plussing that could happen Cloud Service.

Others are more oblique – Brit + Co is a media and goods company, and Hoodline is a hyper-local news and analysis company. But given that I saw a Hoodline
mentioned on a local ABC affiliate a few weeks back, I think I can see where that is going.

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