Comcast is launching a new LIFT Labs model, first with a theme of generative AI

Originally Posted In Technically Media Inc.

VFI_Blog_Generative AI

Comcast has been working with early-stage startups since the launch of its LIFT Labs Accelerator in 2018, and today, a new iteration of the program opens for applications.

The company announced Wednesday that it would be launching a series of six-week, hyper-focused, theme-based accelerator programs. It’s an evolution from its original 12-week program which welcomed startups on broader topics like “future of work.”

This spring, the first focus is on companies in the generative AI space — timely, as tech like OpenAI’s ChatGPT seems omnipresent. This area of technology uses artificial intelligence to generate content for users via text, video, audio and code and is being used across lots of industries.

More themes for this model of accelerator are forthcoming throughout the year, Comcast said, focused on trends in connectivity and entertainment. Comcast will work with startup collaboration-focused VentureFuel on the programming.

Startups using generative AI to build future technologies, products and services are encouraged to apply starting today, through April 9. (Look to LIFT Labs’ website for details.) This accelerator will be open to six to eight startups at a variety of different stages in their business journey, Comcast said, and will take place partially in the LIFT Labs studio within the Comcast Technology Center, and partially virtually.

Over six weeks starting May 22, the startups will meet with leaders from Comcast NBCUniversal, including Xfinity, tech and customer-focused teams, Universal Pictures and others to hear about opportunities that exist in the generative AI space. LIFT Labs’ Luke Butler and Laura Plunkett, executive directors of startup engagement, will lead the program.

“Comcast has a strong history of partnering with startups at the forefront of innovation and emerging technologies,” said Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer at Comcast, in a statement. “We are excited to kick off our 2023 LIFT Labs Accelerator series to engage with founders focusing on Generative AI applications, services, and technology to learn more about the implications, opportunities, and impact across a wide range of sectors, including connectivity and content.”

In its five cohorts so far, LIFT Labs has graduated 54 portfolio companies, of which 80% have landed proof of concept, pilot or commercial deal with Comcast NBCUniversal. In 2022’s accelerator, 100% of the companies did. The accelerator’s alumni have raised more than $136 million to date.

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