Comcast NBCUniversal And Techstars Announce Second LIFT Labs Accelerator Cohort

By Amit Chowdhry ● Aug 13, 2019
  • Comcast NBCUniversal and Techstars have announced that 11 startups from around the world were selected for the second LIFT Labs accelerator cohort

Today Comcast NBCUniversal and Techstars have announced that eleven startups from around the world were selected among hundreds of applications focused on the next generation of connectivity, media, and entertainment.

The startups were chosen from hundreds of applicants across 46 countries and whose businesses focused on developing the next generation of connectivity, media, and entertainment. And these companies will be calling Comcast NBCUniversal’s global headquarters in Philadelphia home over the next 13 weeks starting now.

The diverse selection of the startups — which includes one-third of the companies having a female founder — are going to partner with mentors and teams at the new Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia where LIFT Labs occupies an entire state-of-the-art floor dedicated to working with the startup community. And they will also participate in custom workshops, training sessions, and business meetings unique to the company and its LIFT Labs program throughout the course of the accelerator.

Plus the startups will also be positioned for possible partnerships with Comcast NBCUniversal’s partners and brands such as the XFINITY technology, product and experience teams; the NBC and Telemundo broadcast stations; NBCUniversal cable networks; Universal Studios; Universal Theme Parks; DreamWorks; Comcast Business; Comcast Ventures; Strategic Development; and mentors from Techstars’ expansive network.

“We are incredibly excited by the passion, drive, and foresight of the founders of these companies,” said Comcast Chief Business Development Officer Sam Schwartz. “The program will provide them with support and access to Comcast NBCUniversal leadership, and help them push their boundaries in new ways to produce more competitive and successful businesses. At the same time, we will learn from some of the best new entrepreneurs in technology.”

The startup applicants were screened by a selection committee made up of Techstars experts and leaders from several Comcast NBCUniversal business units. The focus of the startups includes smart places, immersive + interactive experiences, digital-first customer engagement, and next-gen marketing.

The 2019 accelerator class includes:, San Francisco, CA

Founders: Geeta Banda (CEO) and Teja Nanduri

Diana AI is a conversational business intelligence and analytics company that enables non-technical users to access enterprise data and analyze it using natural language via voice or text., Bangalore, India

Founders: Ashok Karanth (CEO) and Akshay Chandrasekhar delivers interactive and personalized sports content to fans by applying its AI-powered player recognition engine to live video streams in real-time.

GameOn, Brooklyn, NY

Founder: Matt Bailey (CEO)

GameOn drives live sports engagement by turning complicated stats and odds into simple prediction games for everyday fans.

Messy.FM, Los Angeles, CA

Founder: Molly Beck (CEO) is an all-in-one podcasting solution for businesses, brands, and individuals to record, edit, and publish unlimited episodes for free., Brooklyn, NY

Founder: Sumorwuo Zaza (CEO)

NICKL allows individuals and organizations to personalize and manage their digital content subscriptions in one place.

Pivan Interactive, Boulder, CO

Founders: David Sturgeon (CEO) and Constantine Tsang

Pivan provides advanced training and analytics for competitive gaming athletes, which is powered by computer vision and AI.

Respeecher, Kyiv, Ukraine

Founders: Oleksandr Serdiuk (CEO), Grant Reaber, and Dmytro Bielievtsov

Respeecher uses AI to transform voices, allowing one person to speak in the voice of another.

Sporttrade, Philadelphia, PA

Founders: Alexander Kane (CEO), Greg Scott, and Henry Fuz

Sporttrade is a free prediction market where users can buy and sell outcomes of sporting events just like stocks.

Struct Club, Los Angeles, CA

Founder: Amira Polack (CEO)

Struct Club enables music-inspired fitness instructors to choreograph and deliver classes.

TakeShape, Brooklyn, NY

Founders: Mark Catalano (CEO) and Andrew Sprouse

TakeShape offers one-click integration for developers to easily combine data from the JAMstack without having to write new code.

The GIST, Toronto, Canada

Founders: Roslyn McLarty, Jacie deHoop, and Ellen Hyslop

The GIST offers sports content, experiences, and a community for women.

Techstars managing director KJ Singh is going to oversee this accelerator. Singh has run accelerator programs at Techstars since 2013 and invested in over 100 companies that have gone on to raise over $300 million from top-tier angel investors and VCs. And Singh will advise the selected startups on product/market fit, a data-driven approach to growth and acceleration, and fundraising strategies that lead to results.

“We are excited to welcome 11 companies working to transform the connectivity, media, and entertainment space to this year’s program,” added Singh. “These startups have access to both Techstars’ proven methodology and Comcast NBCUniversal’s significant expertise across the industry. The advantage and opportunity this Techstars and Comcast NBCUniversal partnership provides founders was the reason why I wanted to be a part of this program – it’s not just Techstars…we have an incredible committed partner that is rolling up its sleeves and getting to work to help these companies innovate and grow.”

Upon the conclusion of the program on October 10, the companies are going to pitch their businesses to hundreds of investors, mentors, Comcast NBCUniversal leaders, and members of the tech and startup community during Demo Day in the Ralph J. Roberts Forum in the Comcast Technology Center. And each company will have access to work space at LIFT Labs in Philadelphia until June 2020.

The inaugural Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator (powered by Techstars in 2018) led to eight out of 10 of the startups securing partnerships or pilot programs with Comcast NBCUniversal businesses. This accelerator is part of Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs, which is a collection of programs that talented entrepreneurs access to Comcast NBCUniversal’s renowned network of partners, brands, and mentors to foster rapid breakthroughs in connectivity, media, and entertainment.