As we’ve seen from the Disney Research group, the company that birthed Mickey Mouse and long lines for overpriced popcorn is really into 3D printing. The group has put out a lot of exciting work on new ways to 3D print objects, including the elusive process of fabric 3D printing. It should come as no surprise then that the second Disney Accelerator should feature two 3D printing startups.
From now until the program’s Demo Day on October, 6, 2015, ten firms will work to develop their businesses with help from a three-month mentorship and investment program. Among these firms are two UK 3D printing firms that many of our readers will already be familiar with, MakieLab and Open Bionics. While the former is a pioneer in custom doll manufacturing, the latter is performing groundbreaking work in open source bionic prosthetic limbs. Each company participating will receive up to $120,000, along with guidance from Disney executives, like Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger, and heads of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering, as well as others from the entertainment industry, venture capitalists, and the Techstar network.
Kevin Mayer, Chief Strategy Officer of The Walt Disney Company says of the program, “Last year’s Disney Accelerator exceeded our expectations on many fronts. We are excited to roll up our sleeves again this year and help these cutting-edge startups achieve their goals.”
In addition to MakeLabs and Open Bionics, the other tech firms chosen are: Decisive, which develops user-targeted ads; EMOTIV, which we’ve covered for their EEG hardware interface; FEM Inc., a personalized video platform relying on neuroscience; HYP3R; another ad business focused on customer identification; imperson, an AI platform that allows fans to engage with their favorite TV and film characters; Littlstar, a VR content company; Pundit, a platform for Twitter-based audio AMAs; and StatMuse, an AI platform for sports data.
From the startups listed above and those that completed the company’s first accelerator, it sounds like this may be a technologically exciting opportunity. As a fan of both MakieLab and Open Bionics, I hope they do an awesome job.