Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and NBC Universal have launched a start-up accelerator with a view to nurturing companies of the future in the entertainment and media industry. This will be done through a program named LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs in partnership with Techstars, an accelerator based in Philadelphia. According to Comcast, LIFT is an acronym for ‘Leveraging Innovation for Tomorrow’.
Applications from entrepreneurs will begin being accepted early next year by which time the pioneering LIFT Lab will have been opened in Philadelphia. The location of this lab will be adjacent to the headquarters of Comcast in a building that is still being constructed. Another lab is expected to be opened in late 2018 in Atlanta.
“Comcast was a startup more than 50 years ago in the Philadelphia region, and we understand the importance of entrepreneurialism to help drive growth, innovation, and the economy,” the head of business development at the cable unit of Comcast, Sam Schwartz, said.
Comcast’s participation in the startup scene has been varied and diverse. Through a venture capital unit known as Comcast Ventures, Comcast has previously made investments in various startups at different stages. Comcast has also arranged tours in various cities with a view to linking entrepreneurs with influencers in the technology industry. It has also previously collaborated with Boomtown, an accelerator based in Colorado, with the aim of building a lab that could be used to develop IoT projects by entrepreneurs.
With regards to new media, one of Comcast’s better-known investments was with Buzzfeed where it put in approximately $400 million. The media giant also recently invested in Snap Inc.
Comcast is not the first media company to launch an accelerator as Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) and Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) have already done so. In the case of Time Warner, the media giant ended up shutting down its three-year old startup accelerator known as Media Camp in 2014 because there wasn’t any breakout success. After launching an accelerator program in conjunction with Techstars, Walt Disney soon parted ways with its partner and now the media giant operates the program independently.
On Monday shares of Comcast Corporation rose by 0.59% to close the day at $34.44.