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Walt Disney Company rolls out own Techstars-powered Accelerator

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February 12
7:57 PM 2014

The Walt Disney Company is joining other big companies in flexing its muscles to the startup incubator business by rolling out its own Disney Accelerator, TechCrunch reported. According to Disney, their accelerator is seeking early stage firms that have innovative ideas related to consumer media and entertainment products. The chosen startups will get an investment of $120,000 as well as mentorship from industries in the tech and entertainment spheres. Disney CEO Bob Iger and other leaders from the company's different divisions will also be providing help and advice to the startups.

Disney Executive Vice President of Corporate Development Kevin Mayer told TechCrunch through email what the main goal of the accelerator was. He said, "This is about identifying and mentoring startups with innovative ideas that could help transform the media and entertainment business."

Disney's accelerator program is "powered by Techstars" and Mayer added that organizations are working together with Techstars to bring the accelerator experience as well as with Disney to provide access to executives, intellectual property and other resources. Los Angeles-based Disney Accelerator will accept applications until April 16 and the program which will start on June 30, the report said.

The latest indication that Disney became interested in the tech world was when it appointed Jack Dorsey to the company's Board of Directors. The Twitter Co-founder and Chairman and Co-founder and CEO of Square joins Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and John S. Chen, the formerly CEO of Sybase, in the Disney board.

The accelerator also highlights Disney's penchant for coming up with firsts. Mayer told TechCrunch, "By way of example, in 1928, Disney launched the first cartoon with fully synchronized sound. In 1932 it premiered the first full-color cartoon. In 1937 came the first animated feature film and in 1955 the first modern theme park was opened. We have also been leaders in entertainment technology development with inventions like the multiplane camera, audio-animatronics, circle-vision 360° and Fantasound. I see Disney Accelerator as an extension of this legacy and a new way of bringing together the creative energies of the media/entertainment and startup communities to inspire innovation."

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