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disneyaccelerator.com

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Investments

53

Portfolio Exits

8

Partners & Customers

1

About Disney Accelerator

Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is helping today's technology innovators turn their dreams for new media and entertainment experiences into reality. Through Disney Accelerator, select companies will gain access to the range of creative expertise and resources of The Walt Disney Company to help them develop their innovative new entertainment experiences and products. Disney Accelerator brings together an amazing community of entrepreneurs, creatives, mentors, investors, and technologists, all with a common trait: the ability to dream big, and a vision for making an impact on the world of entertainment and technology.

Disney Accelerator Headquarter Location

California,

United States

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Expert Collections containing Disney Accelerator

Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.

Find Disney Accelerator in 2 Expert Collections, including AR/VR.

A

AR/VR

32 items

F

Fortune 500 Investor list

590 items

This is a collection of investors named in the 2019 Fortune 500 list of companies. All CB Insights profiles for active investment arms of a Fortune 500 company are included.

Disney Accelerator Web Traffic

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Disney Accelerator Rank

Latest Disney Accelerator News

Want to glimpse our metaverse future? Theme parks are already on the case

Nov 18, 2021

Print The promise of augmented reality so far has largely been just that — promises of a future seen through filters for our mobile phone apps or simple games that place characters with little movement on our camera screens. But if this whole metaverse thing — the concept of a persistent, evolving online world that we don’t log into as much as live inside — is ever going to take off, we’re going to need more. In the not too distant future Universal Studios Hollywood will import a “Mario Kart"-themed ride from Japan that is centered on augmented reality, an attraction designed to create the illusion that we’re interacting with virtual objects and characters. Unlike most AR-enhanced mobile phone apps, where the images are tailored to an individual’s screen, the use of visor-like glasses will allow all guests on the ride to engage with the digital creations in real-time. And earlier this month the Walt Disney Co. quietly announced that it is “in conversations” with Illumix, a Redwood City, Calif.-based AR firm that has been rooted in games (“Five Nights at Freddy’s AR: Special Delivery”) and e-commerce but is quickly expanding into physical realms. Illumix tech offers a range of experiences, including entertainment that merges physical and digital effects as well as more personally grounded character interactions. Advertisement One of the demos previewed by Illumix as part of the experimental tech program Disney Accelerator just happened to show some over-the-top, vintage cartoon-inspired interactions in Mickey’s Toontown, an area of Disneyland that the company would later announce would be reimagined with more green space and a number of interactive, play-focused activities. Sit back and enjoy the ride? No more. From Disney’s new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to Japan’s upcoming “living video game” Super Nintendo World, theme-park audiences must participate to get the full experience. These were tech demos and shouldn’t be viewed as guarantees that any will show up in the park, but the proof-of-concept projects signal that an augmented reality-enhanced future is getting closer. Among the tantalizing scenes shown: an animated overlay in the Toontown area of the park with cartoon explosions intermingled with real-world smoke, a glimpse of Buzz Lightyear soaring around and through Disney California Adventure, and Minnie Mouse hanging out on a Main Street, U.S.A., balcony to offer birthday greetings to a young fan. What impressed most about Illumix’s demos was the way in which the augmented reality characters appear to move with and understand their surroundings rather than appear like virtual stickers. Illumix founder Kirin Sinha says she has to be delicate in discussing her company’s potential collaborations with Disney, but she ultimately sees the gaming world continuing to influence physical spaces. “It’s this idea that it’s constantly evolving — based on other people, your preferences, choices you made in the past, virtual events. We can take what’s happening in the digital content world and bring that to physical experiences,” Sinha says. It’s easy to imagine augmented reality providing digital overlays of lands and for the park to better respond to birthdays and anniversaries. Or, for a theme park history buff like myself, a way for the phone to provide location-based historical knowledge with corresponding historical image overlays. Illumix founder Kirin Sinha shows how the company’s augmented reality technology could be used in a Disney theme park. Here, a toy Buzz Lightyear zips in and around Disney California Adventure and could be visible to all guests utilizing smartphones to view the content. This was a demo from Disney’s experimental tech program Accelerator and it is unknown if it will appear in the parks. (Disney Illumix) Theme parks, of course, offer perhaps the easiest way to understand the concept of the metaverse, which is often spoken of as an all-encompassing and persistent virtual world where we shop, play, work, communicate and watch entertainment — the metaverse is a virtual theme park, if you will. Early examples, such as Epic Games’ “Fortnite” or the content creation game universe “Roblox,” are, like “Second Life” before them, rooted in the video game space. Meta, the newly rebranded Facebook, has focused its conversations on virtual reality or productivity tools such as virtual meetings. But the concept that we’ll wake up and plug into a virtual world for all of our daily interactions is a bit dystopian, likely far off and will probably never be a reality unless climate change forces it to be. More likely it is something akin to the Disneyland model, where entertainment, technology, architecture and more come together in spaces that blur technological lines. “There’s the ‘Ready Player One’ version of a metaverse, where we all live and work and our lives are totally digital. I don’t think that’s ultimately where this is going, to a point where we’re not in this physical world,” says Sinha. “I don’t think there’s any evidence to suggest that people actually like doing that.” “However,” she continues, “if you look at the companies that are excelling in the metaverse, of course they would want to frame the metaverse as a future where everyone is going to live their entire lives in that company’s world. That’s the story you’re going to go out and pitch, but the reality, if you zoom back, is that the metaverse is about taking the separation of the physical and digital and combining them.” Disney of late has been talking of building its own metaverse, and that is represented in how the worlds of “Star Wars” influenced a theme park land, which in turn influenced a virtual reality game. Film and television are merging into a singular world that’s represented in a theme park and interactive entertainment such as games. Disney has even teased what appear to be augmented reality glasses that can up the educational content in a park such as Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. Disney built Galaxy’s Edge as a living theme park land in which guests can role play. That vision is fully realized in an Oculus VR experience we can do at home. Then, of course, there’s the experiment that is the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser , a multi-day “Star Wars"-themed hotel that’s spoken of as a cruise ship-like experience on land. But it’s really offering guests the opportunity to spend thousands of dollars to turn themselves into “Star Wars” avatars, allowing those willing to spring for the rooms, which start at just shy of $5,000 for two guests, to immerse themselves in a live-action video game. If it works, it’s the ultimate realization of an interactive-driven, play-focused society, one where a metaverse isn’t something we simply plug into but can constantly surround us. The Starcruiser’s thesis is that there is no barrier between the storyteller and story participant. Games and tech have been heading in this direction for decades. That’s been the promise of everything from “Dungeons & Dragons” to “The Legend of Zelda” to immersive theater projects such as “Sleep No More.” Universal’s “Mario Kart” attraction — dubbed Mario Kart: Koopa’s Challenge at Universal Studios Japan — and Walt Disney World’s Galactic Starcruiser in Florida are ambitious bets that mass audiences will continue to crave less passive experiences — a furthering of a trend that was formalized with Disney’s Toy Story Midway Mania ride and has continued to this day with Disney California Adventure’s Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure. It’s also a contention that the metaverse won’t define our world so much as influence it. Think, perhaps, of a future where entertainment becomes something of a wall-less theme park. Let’s just hope the headaches of both worlds — the strollers and the lines of a theme park, and the dangerous misinformation of the modern internet — get sorted somewhere along the way.

Disney Accelerator Investments

53 Investments

Disney Accelerator has made 53 investments. Their latest investment was in Holler as part of their Series B - II on July 7, 2021.

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Disney Accelerator Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

7/27/2021

Series B - II

Holler

Yes

1

7/27/2021

Unattributed

PlayOn! Sports

Yes

1

7/27/2021

Seed - II

Camp NYC

Yes

1

7/27/2021

Series B - III

Subscribe to see more

$99M

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10

7/27/2021

Series E - II

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$99M

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10

Date

7/27/2021

7/27/2021

7/27/2021

7/27/2021

7/27/2021

Round

Series B - II

Unattributed

Seed - II

Series B - III

Series E - II

Company

Holler

PlayOn! Sports

Camp NYC

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Amount

$99M

$99M

New?

Yes

Yes

Yes

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Co-Investors

Sources

1

1

1

10

10

Disney Accelerator Portfolio Exits

8 Portfolio Exits

Disney Accelerator has 8 portfolio exits. Their latest portfolio exit was Hoodline on October 13, 2020.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

10/13/2020

Acquired

2

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10

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10

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10

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10

Date

10/13/2020

00/00/0000

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Exit

Acquired

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Companies

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Valuation

Acquirer

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Sources

2

10

10

10

10

Disney Accelerator Partners & Customers

1 Partners and customers

Disney Accelerator has 1 strategic partners and customers. Disney Accelerator recently partnered with Open Bionics on November 11, 2015.

Date

Type

Business Partner

Country

News Snippet

Sources

11/30/2015

Partner

Open Bionics

United Kingdom

Disney teams up with 3D printed doll company MakieLab to make Disney themed doll clothing

The other company , Open Bionics , is a 3D printed prosthetics company that was able to , with Disney Accelerator 's collaboration , develop Disney Accelerator character themed prosthetic limbs for children .

1

Date

11/30/2015

Type

Partner

Business Partner

Open Bionics

Country

United Kingdom

News Snippet

Disney teams up with 3D printed doll company MakieLab to make Disney themed doll clothing

The other company , Open Bionics , is a 3D printed prosthetics company that was able to , with Disney Accelerator 's collaboration , develop Disney Accelerator character themed prosthetic limbs for children .

Sources

1

Disney Accelerator Team

2 Team Members

Disney Accelerator has 2 team members, including current Senior Vice President, Michael Abrams.

Name

Work History

Title

Status

Michael Abrams

Senior Vice President

Current

Cody Simms

Managing Director

Former

Name

Michael Abrams

Cody Simms

Work History

Title

Senior Vice President

Managing Director

Status

Current

Former

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