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Disney Is Launching A Startup Accelerator

Mickey Mouse, the venture capitalist. Ten media and entertainment startups will receive upwards of $120,000.

Disney Is Launching A Startup Accelerator
[Image: Flickr user RichardStep.com]

The Walt Disney Company announced Wednesday it is launching a three-month Los Angeles-based accelerator in partnership with Techstars.

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“Disney Accelerator combines the magic of the Walt Disney Company with the mentorship-driven accelerator model of Techstars to offer a unique advantage for technology startups in the media and entertainment space,” Techstars chief technical officer David Cohen told Fast Company.

Ten media and entertainment startups will receive upwards of $120,000–$20,000 paid upon acceptance with an option to tap $100,000 in convertible debt note. As part of the program, Disney will provide mentors from within the company and entertainment industry. Cody Simms, who held top roles at StumbleUpon and Yahoo, will oversee the accelerator as managing director.

Layoffs in Disney’s gaming department have led some to speculate that this accelerator could help the company revamp its games unit. The accelerator will be “focusing broadly on taking high-quality startup teams focused on anything in the media/entertainment vertical, which could certainly include gaming, but we aren’t prioritizing gaming,” Cohen said. Yet the Disney Accelerator website makes clear it’s not interested in your scripts, screenplays, or ideas for attractions.

As for innovation within Disney itself, the entertainment company has been experimenting with intriguing prototypes that include a mobile projector that makes surfaces come to life with 3-D animation and a microphone that transmits messages through the human body.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

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