×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney Launches a New Class of Startups at In-House Accelerator

The Walt Disney Company held a graduation ceremony for its in-house accelerator program on Thursday, giving nine companies the chance to pitch their plans to change the entertainment industry.

Now in its third year, the Disney Accelerator gives start-up companies access to Disney executives as they fine-tune their products. The companies are selected from a much larger group of applicants. Disney invests in the companies and gives them office space in Glendale for three to six months. Typically the companies emerge with a deal to serve some branch of the Disney empire.

“It’s a personal relationship that really matters,” said Michael Abrams, Disney’s senior vice president for innovation. “It’s about bringing everyone together.”

Among the companies featured at Thursday’s “Demo Day” was Atom Tickets, a social ticketing app that allows friends to plan movie outings together.

Matthew Bakal, the company’s chairman, said the company had arranged a deal to sell Disney merchandise alongside tickets through the app. Moviegoers would get targeted ads for merchandise as they leave the theater.

“We call it the virtual exit-through-the-gift-shop,” Bakal said, noting the deal will launch with the release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Other companies include Ader, which handles advertising and sponsorships for e-sports; Pley, a subscription toy service that uses an algorithm to select appropriate toys for children; and Hanson Robotics, which makes humanoid robots.

“I’ve been pursuing the dream of humanlike robots for more than 20 years,” said David Hanson, the company’s CEO.

Disney CEO Robert Iger gave a brief introduction to the program, touting it as a way to bring fresh ideas into the company.

“Obviously there’s great mutual benefit for all of us,” he said. “We feel a commitment to bringing in new people and new ideas and we get energized by them.”

In the previous two years of the accelerator, Disney focused on launching pure startups. This year’s class featured several more mature companies that have already gained significant traction and received multiple investment rounds.

“Now it’s how do you go from selling millions to selling many millions,” Abrams said.

More Biz

  • Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan

    Stan Lee's Former Business Manager Arrested on Elder Abuse Charges

    Stan Lee’s former business manager, Keya Morgan, was arrested in Arizona Saturday morning on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD’s Mike Lopez confirmed that the arrest warrant was for the following charges: one count of false imprisonment – elder adult; three counts of grand theft from elder or dependent adult, [...]

  • promenade Cannes Croisette Cannes Placeholder

    Cannes Market Claims Record Visitor Numbers

    The Cannes Market, the Cannes Film Festival’s commercial wing, says that its 2019 edition welcomed a record number of participants. It reported 12,527 attendees. The largest group by nationality was from the U.S. with 2,264 participants, followed by France with 1,943 participants, and the U.K. 1,145. Comparable figures for 2018 were not available. The number [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Some Weinstein Accusers Balk at $30 Million Settlement

    Updated: Some of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers are balking at a proposed $30 million settlement of their harassment claims, which could scuttle the deal, Variety has learned. Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case told Judge Mary Walrath on Thursday that they are close to a global resolution of the civil litigation. The accusers, their lawyers [...]

  • Director Dean DeBlois and online game

    'Dragon' Director Dean DeBlois and PUBG's CH Kim to Keynote 2019 VIEW Conference

    Dean DeBlois, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and PUBG Corporation CEO CH Kim are the first keynote speakers announced for the 2019 VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, in October. Since it began 12 years ago, VIEW, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Accusers Near Settlement in Bankruptcy Case

    Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case say they are getting close to reaching a settlement that would compensate Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct accusers. The company went bankrupt last year, as it faced hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and numerous civil suits on behalf of Weinstein’s alleged victims. The company sold to Lantern [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content