Comcast NBCUniversal announced LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs today, a multi-city program that will focus on assisting startups with new innovations in media, entertainment and connectivity. It will be comprised of a variety of programs offered online and in person, including a startup accelerator, entrepreneurs’ resource center, and programs on how to bring their innovations to market.
LIFT stands for "Leveraging Innovation For Tomorrow" and builds on the spirit of entrepreneurship created by Comcast’s founder, Ralph Roberts, who was a pioneer in the cable industry and one of America’s great entrepreneurs. The flagship location will be called LIFT Labs PHL and will be in the new Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia when it opens in early 2018. A second LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs program in Atlanta will launch in 2018 with additional details, including its accelerator partner, to be announced soon.
"Comcast was a startup more than 50 years ago in the Philadelphia region, and we understand the importance of entrepreneurialism to help drive growth, innovation, and the economy," said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast Cable. "We are excited to work alongside and learn from some of the best entrepreneurs while offering access to our experienced innovators to help them grow their businesses and take them to the next level."
The creation of LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs was inspired by extensive input from over 1,500 entrepreneurs across the U.S. and abroad. One of the key elements of LIFT Labs PHL will be an accelerator powered by Techstars, a worldwide entrepreneur network that supports entrepreneurs through access to mentorship and capital. Techstars accelerator companies have raised $3 billion with a portfolio market cap of $7.8 billion.
This will be Techstars’ first accelerator in Philadelphia. The accelerator details and applications will be made available January 8, 2018, and startups from around the globe are encouraged to apply by April 8, 2018.
"Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed. Together with Comcast NBCUniversal, we believe we can be a catalyst for groundbreaking new technologies," said David Brown, co-founder and co-CEO of Techstars. "We are impressed by the 360-degree approach Comcast is taking to work with startups and are also excited to bring our global expertise in startup acceleration to Philadelphia, an innovation city we’ve been watching closely for some time."
Another important component of LIFT Labs will be the entrepreneurs’ resource center that will provide resources for startups at all stages. Resources will include mentorship from Comcast NBCUniversal innovators and third-party partners. LIFT Labs will complement many partners’ existing startup education and resources available at the national and local level.
Comcast NBCUniversal has a long history of supporting startups and helping them grow. LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs builds on many Comcast NBCUniversal initiatives, including:
Comcast Interactive Capital launched in 1999 in Philadelphia as the company’s venture capital fund to seek, acquire, and manage investments associated with the internet.
In 2011, Comcast announced that it combined Comcast Interactive Capital, the venture capital affiliate of the company, with the Peacock Equity Fund, formerly the venture capital affiliate of NBCUniversal and General Electric, into a newly combined fund called Comcast Ventures. Comcast Ventures invests in seed through late stage businesses that represent the next generation of technologies that will change the way people live, work and interact. Initial investments by Comcast Ventures typically range from $2 million to $15 million, and it has grown to nearly 100 companies in its portfolio. As part of Comcast Ventures, the Catalyst Fund was established, an early stage investor in minority-led tech companies.
In 2016, Comcast NBCUniversal launched the Tomorrow Tour, a multi-city event series that convenes entrepreneurs and technology and innovation influencers for a day of knowledge-sharing to help cities better articulate their innovation stories. Research from this tour was used in the creation of LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs programs.
Comcast was the first National Corporate Sponsor of Bunker Labs, an innovation accelerator for military-led businesses. The company is also the Founding Sponsor of Philadelphia’s Bunker Labs location.
Comcast NBCUniversal also supports local and national partner programs, such as Startup Grind, Dreamers // Doers, university innovation partnerships, city tech weeks, among others.
For more information on LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs and Comcast NBCUniversal’s entrepreneurial programs, visit www.ComcastNBCULIFT.com.