Today, eight startups announced that they have secured pilots or agreements with Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky following their participation in the 2021 Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars. Hailing from countries around the world, including France, Switzerland, Israel, and Sweden, and from cities in the U.S., including Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York, these founders came together online and in-person to participate in this year’s hybrid program for 12 weeks. Many of the entrepreneurs have been focused on developing technologies to solve challenges in the fields of immersive entertainment and future of work, two sectors most impacted by the global pandemic.
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From meetings with CNBC’s Jim Cramer and Kevin O’Leary to exploring unique creative approaches with the NBCUniversal Brand Development Team to immersive workshops on topics like interactive storytelling and the future of work, the founders had exclusive opportunities to engage with leaders from across Comcast’s businesses and advisors from Techstars’ global network. The 2021 founders met with 100+ experts from Xfinity technology, product, and experience teams, NBC and Telemundo, Comcast Business, Strategic Development, Universal Theme Parks, Universal Studios, Sky, among others.
“We were extremely impressed with the remarkable spirit and ingenuity of this year’s founders and are excited about what they have accomplished in such a short period of time,” said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast. “From innovations in gaming to accessible communications to employee experiences, these companies are building amazing technologies that have the potential to change how we live, work, and play and look forward to seeing what they do next through their partnerships with Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky.”
This is the fourth Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs accelerator class, operating out of Comcast’s headquarters in Philadelphia, which was recently named one of the fastest-growing big cities for entrepreneurs by LinkedIn. Since the start of the accelerator in 2018, 43 of the graduated companies have raised a combined $85 million following their participation in the program. The accelerator is led by Danielle Cohn, Vice President, Startup Engagement and Head of LIFT Labs, Comcast NBCUniversal, and KJ Singh, Managing Director, Techstars.
To celebrate the culmination of the program, the startups presented their concepts to hundreds of investors and business leaders during Demo Day 2021, which was livestreamed to an audience from the Ralph J. Roberts Forum at the Comcast Technology Center. A replay of the event will be available at ComcastNBCULIFT.com.
Meet the 2021 class of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars:
*Indicates Comcast, NBCUniversal or Sky agreement/partnership
Employee Cycle automates the HR reporting and analytics process by transforming disconnected employee data from multiple HR systems into one centralized, real-time, actionable, and shareable HR dashboard. Employee Cycle is currently addressing companies with 50-1000 employees which make up a $5B market opportunity. Employee Cycle sees the market doubling in size to $10B as they continue to support companies in the mid mid-market and enterprise.
Founders: Bruce Marable (CEO) & Salas Saraiya | Philadelphia, PA |
*Hollo is an AI enabled talent experience platform that helps HR teams pre-qualify candidates for roles and helps resurface past applicants for future jobs that are a better match while making the communication more efficient. During the program, Hollo launched a POC with Comcast and completed testing with Sky Labs. Hollo is currently addressing the $30B HR solutions market, which is projected to grow to $40B by 2025.
Founders: Thomas Moussafer (CEO) & Andy Mpondo Black | Paris, France |
*Holodia worked with the Comcast Fitness Center on a pilot to deliver their platform HOLOFIT to Comcast Employees. The initial reaction to VR cardio fitness was awesome, or as one user put it: “I think HOLOFIT offers a unique way to make fitness more fun for those who may traditionally not enjoy exercising. It also is a great integration of gaming and movement.” Holodia is currently addressing the $75B VR market.
Founders: Shahin Lauritzen (CEO) & Bojana Knezevic | Zurich, Switzerland |
*HUSSLUP is a searchable global network that makes creative talent discovery in media and entertainment more efficient and more diverse. HUSSLUP is partnering with premier studios and production companies, including Universal Pictures, Universal Studio Group, DreamWorks Animation, Keshet Studios, Westbrook, and AGBO to launch its invite-only Beta in November. These entertainment companies will be able to discover and connect with professional writers, producers, directors, and other creative talents in media and entertainment. Currently, HUSSLUP has thousands of creatives on the invite waitlist and is targeting 50M creatives globally.
Founder: H Schuster (CEO) | Los Angeles, California |
*LootLocker is a game backend-as-a-service that unlocks cross-platform services for development teams, saving time and money. LootLocker is working with G4, NBCUniversal and Game Jolt on a 2022 Game Jam focused on the next generation of game developers and creators. The company is currently addressing the $204B gaming industry, and 3.2B gamers globally.
Founders: Alexander Bergendahl (CEO) & Andreas Stokholm | Stockholm, Sweden |
*Nagish’s mobile app allows people who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate via phone by converting speech-to-text and text-to-speech faster and more accurately than ever before. Through the success of the program, Nagish will be launching a pilot to communicate with deaf and HoH Comcast employees and candidates. Nagish is currently addressing a nearly $100B market which includes people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and call centers.
Co-Founder: Tomer Aharoni (CEO) | New York, NY |
*Paco is an intelligent workflow assistant that helps teams eliminate distractions, capture to-dos and tasks from multiple communication channels allowing employees to focus on their work. The Comcast Technology, Product, Xperience team has launched a proof of concept with Paco. Paco is currently addressing the $3B customer success platforms market which is growing 25% year over year.
Founders: Sumit Suman (CEO), Sameer Narang & Nitin Pande | New York, NY |
Peek is a social reading app that creates a multiplayer reading experience, allowing users to purchase books, discuss in text, engage with authors, and interact with other readers in real time. Peek is currently addressing the $150B reading market.
Founders: Deborah Igunma (CEO) & Emmanuel Ojo | London, UK |
Sidewalk connects communities of business operators to give them access to modern property and liability insurance at a significantly lower cost than other insurance providers. Sidewalk is currently addressing the 30M neighborhood businesses that pay over $140B in annual insurance premiums.
Founders: Brennan Pothetes (CEO) & Jenn Sammarco | New York, NY |
*Think Confluent is an AI assistant that analyzes free form text feedback from employees to provide individualized action plans for employees and actionable insights for managers to increase team satisfaction. During the program, Think Confluent secured their first revenue, ran a successful pilot with Comcast and Sky Labs, and reached $400 ARR in their sales pipeline. They continue to focus on the employee experience market which is expected to reach $40B by 2025.
Founders: Sarah Allali (CEO) & Nicolas Cabrignac | Paris, France |
*Zoog is an asynchronous communication platform that allows users to take any children's book and bring it to life using modern AR, ML and advanced animation capabilities. During the program, Zoog entered discussions to bring the world-famous NBCUniversal children's content to life by creating content to be viewed and shared through communication with loved ones, addressing the $28B ePublishing market.
Founders: Yoav Oren (CEO), Matan Guttman | Tel-Aviv, Israel |
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with 57 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 2,700 companies with a combined market cap of more than $206.9B. www.techstars.com
Louise Eich, Comcast