For a fourth year, The Walt Disney Company is to assist a variety of technology and media firms – from artificial intelligence to location-based virtual reality – as part of its Disney Accelerator scheme.
A total of 11 companies will receive guidance from Disney executives, entrepreneurs, investors and other entertainment/tech leaders. They will also be given a co-working space at Disney’s creative campus in Los Angeles. Disney will make equity investments in each of the companies, but is not disclosing the amount of funding. Participating companies will, however, retain rights to all the intellectual property they develop whilst part of the scheme.
Nevertheless, writes Variety, “Disney’s hope is that some of the young blood can be transfused into the Mouse House’s veins.” The company has already benefitted from a number of previous Disney Accelerator innovations. One of these, for example, was the AI-powered chatbots employed in Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.
“The Disney Accelerator has provided The Walt Disney Company incredible opportunities to connect with and be inspired by many talented entrepreneurs from all over the world,” notes Disney’s senior vice-president of innovation, Michael Abrams. “This year, more than ever, we are working with companies with the potential to help define the future of media and entertainment.”
The class of 2017
The companies selected for the 2017 Disney Accelerator programme are as follows:
• Ambidio. Developed a technology for creating a continuous sound field with a sense of depth and dimension through any device with stereo speakers.
• aXiomatic. An eSports group backed by leading sports team owners.
• Brit + Co. Aims to inspire, inform and entertain women through online content, classes and products.
• Epic Games. Creator of Unreal Engine technology, which is used by video-game developers.
• Hoodline. Uses machine learning to distribute geo-tagged content into websites or apps.
• Kahoot!. Game-based learning platform with more than 50 million monthly active users in 180 countries.
• ProductionPro. Develops a tool for storytellers and creators focused on improving creative collaboration in film, TV, and theatre production.
• ReplyYes. Creator of an e-commerce system that lets customers simply reply “YES” to purchase a product and have it shipped.
• Samba TV. Data and analytics company that measures real-time viewership across multiple TV and digital media platforms.
• Savioke. Deploys autonomous delivery robots that assist workers in busy environments such as hotels, logistics facilities and apartment buildings.
• The Void. A location-based entertainment company that immerses guests in virtual experiences with friends and family. The VOID combines interactive sets, virtual reality, real-time effects, and state-of-the-art technology.