The Walt Disney Company announced that it will select ten startup companies for a three month mentorship and seed stage investment program. Disney Accelerator, which will be based in Los Angeles and powered by Techstars, is now accepting applications from early-stage companies with innovative consumer media and entertainment product ideas.
Participants will receive $120,000 in investment capital to develop their ideas, along with mentor support from top Disney executives, including Chairman And CEO Robert A. Iger, and leaders from Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering, among others.
Mentors will also include other entertainment industry leaders, venture capitalists, and Techstars’ extensive network of entrepreneurs, investors and executives. Participants will have access to stories, characters, technology and other resources from across The Walt Disney Company. The program begins June 30, and it concludes with an Investor Demo Day in September where each team will present their company to industry leaders and investors.
“Disney has always been defined by innovation, leveraging the technology required to build the future of entertainment,” said Kevin A. Mayer, Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy And Business Development, The Walt Disney Company.
“Disney Accelerator offers a unique collaboration between some of the best creative minds in the entertainment industry and the modern-day visionaries who are starting businesses on the strength of exciting new ideas.” Overseeing the Disney Accelerator program is Michael D. Abrams, Disney’s Senior Vice President, Innovation.
Coming to its revenues, The Walt Disney Company reported revenues of $12 billion, up 9% from last year, and net income of $1.8 billion, up 33% over first quarter 2013. Much of that growth was driven by franchises like The Avengers, Doc McStuffins and the company’s newest franchise, Frozen.
If Frozen doesn’t strike you as a franchise movie, you’re not alone. The film didn’t exactly leave a lot of room for a sequel at the end. But for Disney, the word franchise means much more than just sequel potential. The film has already spawned a successful sing-a-long version, which is helping to keep the film in the top five at the Box Office.
Toys from the movie are selling like hot cakes at Disney Stores which have been reoriented around franchises and the characters are helping draw crowds at Disney’s theme parks. While the movie might not spawn a sequel, Disney’s most creative employees are likely thinking about television show potentials and there’s little doubt that a Broadway version of the show is in the works.
The company is busy re-launching one of the biggest franchises of all time: Star Wars. The management expects to profit from new Star Wars not just at the Box Office but also on television, in publishing and at theme parks.
Here wishing everyone at The Walt Disney Company all the very best.