Applications are Open for 2020 Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator powered by Techstars

Demo Day 2019

The applications for the third annual Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator powered by Techstars are now officially open!  This will be my second year leading up the program and the 12th overall Techstars program I am running.  One thing that impressed me about this specific Techstars program is how committed our partners at Comcast NBCUniversal are to the program and more importantly, to our founders.

Since the LIFT Labs accelerator launched in 2018, we have invested in 21 companies with over 70% of them securing pilots or proofs of concept with Comcast NBCUniversal brands including Universal Pictures, Comcast Business, Comcast’s Xfinity platform, Universal Parks and Resorts and the Philadelphia Fusion esports organization. Founders have hailed from multiple countries and more than half were women or people of color.

For 2020, we are continuing where we left off in 2019 and are looking for transformational companies in the connectivity, media, and entertainment industries.  We are looking to work with strong visionary founders that understand how working side-by-side with key decision makers from a Fortune 40 company can truly accelerate their company.

More specifically, we are focused on the following themes:

  1. Advanced Connectivity – Innovations in network connectivity.
  2. Future of Work – Leveraging technology to streamline processes in the workplace for enterprise automation.
  3. Interactive and Immersive Experiences – Connecting people everywhere with enhanced entertainment, gaming and digital experiences.
  4. Personalized Experiences – Creating unique experiences for customers with all abilities.

We are excited to meet you during our recruiting tour.  We will be visiting a dozen cities across the US, Canada, and Europe including Boston, Atlanta, Tel Aviv, San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York City, London and Paris.  Request office hours here to meet the team and learn more about our city tour here.  

Comcast NBCUniversal Lift Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars Class of 2019

Today marks the start of the 2019 Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars. This will be the second year of the program, and the 11th accelerator I will have run as a Managing Director at Techstars (the most of anyone at the organization). It’s also the one I am most excited about.

This year’s program continues where we left off last year with our focus remaining the same: connectivity, media, and entertainment.  We spent the last several months meeting entrepreneurs from around the world. With applications from nearly 50 countries, we ultimately selected companies from cities including Bangalore, Boulder, Kiev, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Toronto.  We are especially excited by the diversity of this year’s class, with nearly one-third of our companies led by female CEOs.

Over the next 13 weeks these 11 companies will work with more than 100 mentors to grow and refine their businesses.  They will hear from seasoned founders and industry leaders and test their assumptions with business leaders from our partner, Comcast NBCUniversal.  They will be trained in how to pitch and work with the press and visit 30 Rockefeller Center, headquarters of NBC, to hear from experts in media. Finally, they’ll experience everything that Philadelphia, their home for the next three months, has to offer, including the new Comcast Technology Center, where LIFT Labs will occupy an entire state-of-the-art floor dedicated to working with the startup community.

None of this would have been possible without the support of all of our mentors and alums who met with countless founders and provided guidance during the selection process.  I’d also like to thank the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs team for their continued support and commitment to collaboration. Over the past couple months, I have gotten to know the team and am certain that this is a truly special program.  We will be sharing more about each company over the next several weeks leading up to Demo Day on October 10th, but for now please join us in welcoming the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars Class of 2019!

Diana AI

Diana AI is a conversational business intelligence and analytics tool that enables non-technical users to access enterprise data and analyze it easily, using natural language via voice or text. delivers interactive and personalized content to sports fans by applying its AI-powered player recognition engine to live video streams in real time. 


GameOn increases live sports engagement by turning complicated stats and odds into simple prediction games for the everyday fan. is the all-in-one podcasting solution for businesses, brands, and individuals to record, edit, and publish unlimited episodes for free. 


NICKL enables individuals and organizations to personalize and manage their digital content subscriptions in one place. 

Pivan Interactive

Pivan provides advanced training and analytics for competitive gaming athletes, powered by computer vision and AI. 


Respeecher uses AI technology to transform voices, allowing one person to speak in the voice of another. 


Sporttrade is a free prediction market where users can buy and sell outcomes of sporting events like stocks. 

Struct Club

Struct Club elevates how music-inspired fitness instructors choreograph and deliver classes. 


TakeShape enables one-click integrations that allow developers to easily combine data from the JAMstack without having to write new code. 


The GIST provides sports content, experiences, and community for women. 

“I Learn From Startups All The Time”—Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs’ Danielle Cohn Has 4 Rules for Startup Mentors

If you spot a blur speeding through the bright, airy space occupied by Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, it’s probably Danielle Cohn.

She’s the Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Engagement and the Head of LIFT Labs for Comcast NBCUniversal, and she moves fast. Officially, she’s the corporate liaison, but her true role is so much more. As she explained, “Really, our team was side by side with the startups the whole time they were in the program.” She and her team met with the 10 startups in the program every week, helping them refine what they were looking for from their other mentors. “We helped them hone in on the outcomes they were interested in. We’re about getting results.” She also helped them connect with business units within Comcast NBCUniversal that might be interested in giving them feedback.

Danielle is an entrepreneur, as well. “I’ve had a couple of startups myself,” she said. “I’ve always had a side passion project because I’ve found it keeps me fresh.” She’s the first to say how much she learns from other startups. “I work with startups every day, and it gives me a reality check when I have my own. You have to be extremely nimble; you’re doing it all for yourself!”

Her experience on both sides of the startup-corporate divide makes her the perfect bridge between these two such very different entities. She is determined that both the startups and her corporation get the most out of the accelerator—and during the 13 weeks of the program, eight startups got a pilot off the ground, an exceptional success rate. By the end of the calendar year, three companies had additional contracts with Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, or DreamWorks, and all the rest were still working with some part of the corporation. Three of the companies now have a presence in Philadelphia.

How does she do it? She has four rules for herself—and other mentors. Here’s how to mentor—and Give First—like Danielle does:

1) Have fun doing this.

“Mentoring shouldn’t feel like a burden. It should feel like something you want to do,” Danielle says. If you don’t have the time, be honest—with yourself and with the founder—and bow out. Otherwise, let yourself enjoy the craziness of watching—and helping—a startup grow, change, and find itself over the course of 13 weeks. Or even beyond… Some mentors stay involved with the companies well after the accelerator program ends.

2) Be responsive.

“They only have 13 weeks. You’ve got to be responsive,” Danielle says, and you know she means it.  Fortunately, she has some additional advice on how to do this well. “If you need to, bring someone to do your follow up. You’re going to walk out of the meeting with a to-do list of asks.” Someone has to do them—if not you, then your designated representative can look up names, make introductions, find that elusive bit of data that wasn’t at your fingertips when you wanted it. The important thing is that if you say you’ll do something, it gets done—fast.

3) Set expectations.

“Part of your responsibility as a mentor is helping the founder realize that 10 asks just isn’t realistic. They have to pick one to move forward with.” At least one at a time. Yes, you’re a mentor, but that doesn’t mean you have endless bandwidth. You can also help them understand which of their asks is going to do the most to get them where they want to go.

4) Be ready to learn.

“Mentoring is a very rewarding experience, and I highly recommend it.” Along with the pleasure of sharing knowledge comes the very real experience of learning from the entrepreneur you’re supposed to be mentoring. “I learn from startups all the time,” Danielle says.

Photos from the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Demo Day shoot, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Philadelphia. (Joy Asico/Comcast)


Techstars connects the world’s largest corporations with the most promising technology startups. Learn more about becoming a Techstars partner!

Others Must Provide Data: Getting the Most Out Of Techstars Mentors

“In God we trust, others must provide data.”

—Edwin R. Fisher

Mentorship is one of the key factors that sets apart Techstars accelerators (or as we like to call them “mentorship-driven accelerators”). One of the big responsibilities of each managing director is to find amazing mentors who will be a good match for the 10 companies in the program. This means digging deep into industries and areas of expertise so that these specific companies get to meet people who will be hugely helpful to them.

Mentorship is so essential to the Techstars experience that we even have a Mentor Manifesto, which describes what great mentorship looks like.

But for founders, the experience of being mentored by all of these brilliant, experienced, driven people can be wildly disorienting. When mentors give you contradictory advice, who do you listen to?

How To Be Mentored

Danish Dhamani, cofounder of Orai and graduate of the 2018 Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, had exactly this experience. “I was confused,” Danish said. “We’d talk to one mentor, and they would tell us to go the B2C route. Then the next day, another mentor would say go B2B. And we even got contradictory advice for which industry segment to go after. We were stuck!”

Finally, one mentor gave him some advice about how to take advice. She told him he was clearly a smart person, to have come this far, and he should trust that. Her advice was to trust his gut—and then validate everything using hard data.

Basically, every mentor’s experience is a data point. No more, no less. And once Danish realized this, he figured out how to ask the right kind of questions, which would give him the kind of data he needed.

There Is Such A Thing As A Bad Question

Danish came up with a framework of good and bad questions. For example, he was having a lot of trouble figuring out how to set the pricing for Orai. He used to ask mentors questions like, “How should I price my product?”

That’s a bad question. It assumes that the mentor knows the answer to Orai’s problem. She doesn’t. While the mentor may have set pricing at her own startup, she’s never been in exactly the same situation at Orai—no one has. That’s the fun and the terror of being an entrepreneur.

Asking this kind of question, Danish got all kinds of answers: free, freemium, $10K, $50K. He had no way of knowing which one was right.

Instead, Danish started asking: “How did you decide how to price your product? How did you validate your pricing?”

Mentors told him their pricing stories, describing the process they used to make decisions. Now Danish had data points instead of answers—and he could use those data points to find his own answers.

Danish now felt more confident trusting his own ideas about how to run his company—as long as he backed up his instincts with data.

He adapted the processes he learned from his mentors, and figured out how to use them in his unique situation. Research led to more data to support—or contradict—what his instinct was telling him about how to run Orai. And when he set prices, he did so knowing that he hadn’t forgotten or missed anything—the dread “you don’t know what you don’t know” situation.

A Grain of Salt

Want to know quickly whether someone is a good mentor? Danish found that the best mentors always recommend that you take their advice with a grain of salt. In other words, they know that they are fallible and that their comments may or may not end up being helpful to you.

This is particularly telling in the world of startups, where big egos abound. The best mentors stay humble and know that however much success they may have had, they don’t actually know everything. They don’t expect you to view everything they say as gospel truth and slavishly follow their instructions. They understand that they’re just another data point for you—and they welcome that role.

Of course: take this advice with a grain of salt.

Want to learn more about Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator programs? Read about the benefits of the programs; come to a Meet & Greet event; fill out our general interest form; attend an AMA (ask me anything); or apply to a program. Applications for programs in several industries and locations are open now!

The Next Step in my Techstars Journey: Hello, Philly!

I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be joining the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars as Managing Director in Philadelphia in 2019! Let me tell you a little bit about how I got here.

In 2013, when I joined Techstars as Director of Techstars NYC, I had to appreciate the irony: several years before, I had applied to the inaugural class of that very program. At the time, I was working on a financial literacy startup with my brother. We submitted our application, but didn’t really expect to hear anything back. I was shocked when I saw an email from David Tisch, then Managing Director for the NYC program, asking thoughtful, tough questions about our company—and I was blown away by how accessible and helpful everyone at Techstars was during the entire application process. That venture didn’t end up working out as hoped, but I was left with a strong affinity to Techstars. When the opportunity presented itself to be one of those immensely helpful people on the other side of the table, I jumped at it.

During my very first program as Director, I worked with some of what became the most iconic Techstars NYC alums, such as Plated and Bluecore, and I got to help them refine their messaging, connect with investors, and hire their first employees. If I’m being completely honest, I initially took the position with the intention of learning how the sausage was made, and then applying those learnings to my own future startup. But as it turned out, working with entrepreneurs from the Techstars NYC programs became the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.

In the past six years, I’ve run 10 mentorship-driven accelerator programs—the most of anyone at the organization (I’m very proud of this). I had the privilege of working with Alex Iskold, serial entrepreneur and former Managing Director for Techstars NYC, for eight of these programs, and I learned more from him than I could ever have imagined. So when I heard that Alex was moving on, I decided it was also time to consider what was next for me. That’s when I heard about the opportunity with the program down in Philadelphia.

I’ve been intrigued by the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars and the value it offers both startups and these media giants. The startups get amazing access, industry insights, and mentoring from the corporations. It’s a different model of accelerator, and I wanted to give it a try. Plus, I knew we would be an unstoppable team when we combined my six plus years of experience and knowledge of the Techstars approach with Comcast NBCUniversal’s significant expertise in the connectivity, media, and entertainment space.

I’ve spent the last several weeks getting to know the LIFT Labs team at Comcast NBCUniversal in Philadelphia, and the energy and enthusiasm regarding the accelerator program from everyone, including the team’s senior executives, was intoxicating. I’m thrilled to tell the world that I’m joining the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars as Managing Director and continue my path and passion in supporting founders and helping to nurture and grow startups across the globe.

Applications for the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars open today, January 7, 2019, and the program will kick off this summer in mid-July. If you’ve got questions, you can message me on Twitter, or request office hours with me to learn more about the program, or if you’re ready, apply now!

Demo Day Update: Get to Know the 10 Companies of the 2018 Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars

I’ve spent the last three months working closely with our program’s first 10 companies (Techstars Class 135), which have convened from all over the world — Singapore, Munich, Seoul, Toronto, Los Angeles, Austin, and New York –- right here in Philadelphia. And I’m thrilled to share just how far they’ve come.

I’ve met with hundreds of companies and worked hand-in-hand with our partner, Comcast, to select these first 10, which collectively fit under our umbrella thesis of investing in companies that tackle big problems in media, entertainment and connectivity. Now more than ever, we are aware of the critical role media has in our daily lives and the need to balance its relentless evolution with its survival. I’m inspired by our mission to help usher in the next wave of companies that will reinvent what media is, how it is consumed, and how it will bring us together.

These founders are driven entrepreneurs who are not only motivated to scale their businesses, but also to build a better world by doing that. As you’ll see below, they have worked tirelessly over the course of our program to achieve meaningful milestones. I’m proud of their traction and excited for their future.

Meet the Companies


Orai is an artificial intelligence speech coach that helps people become more effective and confident communicators.

Orai’s CEO and co-founder Danish Dhamani struggled to communicate confidently when he immigrated to the US from Tanzania. He tried everything spanning from books to online courses and found that the most effective way was through 1:1 coaching, which is largely inaccessible and expensive. He launched Orai, along with his co-founders Paritosh Gupta and Aasim Sani, to create a scalable means of offering 1:1 communication coaching to the masses.

With 100k users and counting, Orai is now the #1 public speaking app in the App Store. The company has also solidified a channel partnership with Mandel Communications, and has enterprise customers including Medallia and Comcast.

Portl Media

Portl is the personalized entertainment platform for rideshare vehicles today and autonomous vehicles tomorrow.

While in the backseat of a rideshare vehicle, 88% of riders opt in to experience Portl’s content and localized recommendations for nearly eight minutes at a time. Drivers also love Portl, as it can increase their ratings and tips.

Following a pilot in Toronto, the company has signed advertising deals with partners including Nestle, Duracell and Phillips and is gearing up to launch in US cities including Philadelphia. Portl also recently partnered with a major telco provider to activate hundreds of thousands of tablets on its nationwide network through 2023.

Thinker Tinker

Thinker-Tinker transforms kids’ screen time to quality, active playtime with a character-based learning platform that blends traditional tactile play and digital interaction.

Thinker-Tinker’s CEO and co-founder, Yuting Su, yearned for a better way to educate her toddler; having a dual Masters in Medical Informatics and Game Design, she understood that his developmental need to learn through tactile play was being unmet with his increasing screen time. To tackle this problem, Yuting teamed up with her co-founder, Ray Chen, a serial entrepreneur with experience in both hardware and software engineering who co-founded an online subscription business that grew to $70M in revenue. Together, they created a smart plush toy that can sense children’s interactions to provide customized learning and emotional feedback. With a tablet tucked inside, a Thinker-Tinker toy also offers educational apps, storybooks, and physical tokens to encourage children to learn by playing games.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Yuting and Ray are taking on a unique opportunity to partner with Universal on a licensing arrangement that combines Thinker-Tinker’s play platform with a variety of DreamWorks iconic characters from classic films, the latest theatrical releases, and future animated series.


Eyecandylab enables video content creators to engage their viewers and monetize their media through interactive augmented reality experiences.

After an initial launch in Germany with a major media company that resulted in 365k downloads and a #1 rank in the App Store, eyecandylab debuted in the US successfully with Nickelodeon. With over $700k in revenue this year generated by licensing their patent-pending computer vision technology and live TV matching infrastructure, the company is now focused on scaling their AR experiences via the entertainment, ecommerce and Sports verticals.


Trapica leverages artificial intelligence to optimize targeting decisions in advertising campaigns as they run, allowing marketers to reach the right audiences at the exact time they are ready to convert.

$55B is spent on social network advertising every year, but 70% of those ads are reaching the wrong audiences. Mike Teitelman and Yoav Melamed started Trapica to solve this problem. Using their product, their customers have saved up to 70% off their conversion cost and increased their ROI by 300%.

In the last 6 months, Trapica has grown in revenue by 25% MoM and added some of the biggest advertisers as clients, ranging from Universal Studios to Dirty Lemon. The company will soon apply its homegrown product to other marketing verticals, including linear television, a $150B market.


Polycade turns video games into in-person social events with an engaging, connected arcade console and a curated, digital gaming platform.

Having grown up with a dad who created Atari and Chuck E Cheese, Polycade CEO and Co-Founder Tyler Bushnell remembers the time when people would meet their significant others over a game of Pong. But gaming has strayed from its social roots; nowadays, it’s an isolating experience. Tyler, alongside his co-founder Jake Galler, set out to change that with Polycade.

After successfully raising $120k out of a $20k ask on Kickstarter, the company reached over $750,000 in sales, without any marketing. Polycade’s pilot customers include WeWork,

Grubhub, and Comcast Business. Over the next three years, they plan to deploy 20,000 Polycades, amass a community of over 10 million users, and grow into the largest out-of-home gaming platform — fundamentally changing the way people experience and discover games.


Pium allows you to experience a variety of mood-boosting scents throughout your day with one connected device and a subscription-based scent platform.

75% of daily emotions are affected by smell, and research shows that combining scent with a visual cue strengthens our memory of that visual in the long term.

Powered by patented scent capsules, Pium’s connected device can trigger different scents at different times of day, like a fresh rosemary scent in the morning and a relaxing lavender scent at night. Since the device is connected, a simple Alexa command or tap on a smartphone releases the right scent at the right time. And since the product can sync with other forms of media to create more immersive experiences, Pium is poised to position scent as a new form of media that’s as ubiquitous as sound and visual media – having the potential to encompass the $600B hospitality market and the $2tn entertainment and media markets.

The Pium team is excited to partner with Universal Parks and Resorts and Loews Hotels to offer a sneak peek of the product to hotel guests. The product will be more widely available next fall.


Tally empowers content creators to make and host their own live, interactive shows.

By 2021, there will be 611M viewers watching live video. But, on average, people spend 95 minutes watching gaming livestreams on Twitch for every 3.5 minutes watching non-gaming livestreams.

Tally CEO and Founder Alex Au helped some of the most popular gaming livestreamers grow and retain their audiences by making their content more interactive – building a viewer interaction platform used by 7.5M MAUs and a network of over 35K influencers. Alex saw an opportunity to apply what works in gaming livestreams to make all other content livestreams more engaging. He iterated on different show formats to determine what mechanics drive viewer interaction.

Today, 9 out of 10 viewers interact with shows on Tally and, on average, these viewers engage twice every minute with no monetary incentive.


WiARframe empowers anyone to prototype and share augmented reality experiences in minutes.

The web revolutionized every aspect of our lives. But that wasn’t the case back when only engineers could create for it; it wasn’t until we built tools to empower designers and lower the barrier to entry that we unlocked the web’s potential.

Having spent his career building tools for creators at Atari and designing games and digital products, WiARframe CEO and Founder Jeremiah Alexander believes that augmented reality is having a similar moment. While it is widely held that AR has the potential to be even bigger than the web, currently only people with deep technical knowledge can design for it.

WiARframe changes that, and now notable media companies including SYFY and leading agencies including Huge, EON Reality and Nexus Studios are gearing up to use wiARframe for their next AR projects.


alive5 offers the easiest way for small-to-medium businesses to engage customers and accept payments on any digital messaging channel.

Every day, we collectively send 141B text messages via the top messaging apps. But most small-to-medium businesses struggle with juggling these newer communication channels with their existing ones. Companies without a multi-channel strategy retain customers at a rate of 33%, compared to an 89% retention rate that companies with a cohesive strategy enjoy. alive5 addresses this problem by helping businesses manage their customers on any channel – website, SMS, Facebook Messenger et al  — while also offering a PCI compliant solution to help facilitate payments in these channels.

alive5’s platform supports over 800 customers, including 200 of the top pro and college sports teams, major hotel brands, Comcast Spectacor, as well as Spectra Venue Management, which manages hundreds of venues throughout North America.

Thank you speakers and mentors!

During our program, we were incredibly lucky to have amazing guest speakers and over 140 mentors help our companies. Thank you for generously offering your time and continued support!

Special shout outs go out to our top mentors, selected by our 2018 class:

Thank you Techstars team!

It takes a village to pull off a successful Techstars program. I’d like to thank our Entrepreneur in Residence, Andrew Cove, who routinely burned the midnight oil in support of our founders, and our program manager, Rachel Greenspan, who kept on top of all of the moving pieces while we were going a million miles a minute.

A big thank-you hug also goes to our rockstar Techstars associates Will Sanderson, Jamie Fisher, Josh Klein and Emmy Phung! You guys not only worked hard to help our companies, but you made it fun. I’m definitely going to miss our crew.

Thank you to our partner, Comcast NBCUniversal!

Last but definitely not least, thanks to our amazing partners and mentors at Comcast NBCUniversal for continuously offering their time and key introductions that meaningfully helped and will continue to help our companies grow. We couldn’t have done this without you!

CONGRATS to the 2018 Class of our Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars!

Announcing the Companies Participating in the 2018 Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars

We are excited to announce Techstars Class 135 – the 10 companies that will be joining us in Philadelphia for our inaugural Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

While they all collectively fall into this program’s overarching media, entertainment and connectivity focus areas, these companies range widely in their angle —from gaming, to augmented reality, to IoT. And their founders, who were selected from a diverse pool of applicants spanning 38 countries, will be joining us from all over the world —from Philadelphia to Singapore.

Starting today, we kick off this Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator program, which will conclude with Demo Day on October 11th. While in Philadelphia, these companies will have access to a curated range of over 140 mentors from both the greater Techstars community — the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed — and from across Comcast NBCUniversal’s businesses, including the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, film studios, cable networks, Comcast Ventures, and Xfinity products and services. These mentors were hand selected for their unique interest and ability to help these companies grow.

Techstars is proud to have an incredible partner in Comcast NBCUniversal, who we have worked closely with to craft a one-of-a-kind program I am thrilled to share with our companies. This is going to be an amazing year for our program and the Philadelphia startup community!

Here are the companies participating in the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars:

Portl Media

Portl Media is a network of personalized media and entertainment experiences for rideshare vehicles.

Toronto, Canada

Trapica Labs

Trapica allows marketing campaigns on social networks to reach the right audiences at the right time by leveraging an artificial intelligence algorithm that autonomously optimizes targeting decisions in real time.

New York City


Pium is an IoT-powered platform for a personalized olfactory experience.

New York City

Thinker Tinker

Thinker Tinker creates companions that engage children through an innovative blend of traditional hands-on tactile play and digital interaction.

Los Angeles, CA


Polycade is a modern arcade gaming console powered by a platform through which developers can build and sell games.

Los Angeles, CA

Tally Interactive

Tally is a mobile platform for live interactive game shows.

Toronto, Canada


WiARframe is a prototyping tool that allows creatives to effortlessly craft interactive augmented reality content, without any coding, 3D knowledge, or expensive equipment.



Eyecandylab is a platform of immersive, augmented reality experiences for linear TV.

Munich, Germany


Orai is an artificial intelligence speech coach that helps people improve their public speaking skills with personalized coaching.

Philadelphia, PA


Alive5 provides businesses with PCI-compliant chat software that allows them to engage and seamlessly accept payments from customers via website, social-media accounts and text messaging.

Austin, TX


An Evening With Techstars and Friends

Applications are open now through April 8th for the first cohort of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars! The program will take place July-October in Philadelphia, PA. Join us on March 7th to learn more about the program and the companies we are looking for. We’ll welcome Techstars alumni as they share their experiences, followed by a fireside chat with Burt Herman on his journey as an entrepreneur co-founding Storify (acquired by LiveFyre).

General Assembly + SXSW Present: Get Funded – How to Pitch

Get Funded: How to Pitch

Sunday, March 11th from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Maya Baratz – Managing Director, Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator Powered by Techstars


Learn how to craft a compelling pitch for investors that will help your company get funded. This class will focus on teaching participants how to structure their pitch, how to build a complementary deck, and how to deliver the pitch to get the right result.


  • Understand the different elements of a pitch, which elements are required and which can be left out
  • Learn how to build the perfect deck to enhance your pitch
  • Learn how to pitch in a variety of different settings
  • Gain tips and tricks to make your pitch memorable


About the Instructor:

Maya Baratz the Managing Director of Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, through which she actively invests in media and connectivity companies. Maya is a longtime startup advisor and a recent Harvard University Nieman Fellow with a deep footing in and passion for consumer products. She has led the strategy and development of new-to-market digital products and revenue streams, most recently as the Head of New Product Strategy and Development at Disney/ABC Television and, prior to that, as a product and media executive for companies including The Wall Street Journal, MTV, Flickr and Maya has also written extensively about technology and startups for publications including Fortune, Fast Company, Newsweek, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. And she has created and led a product development course at institutions including Columbia Business School and General Assembly. She can be reached @mbaratz on Twitter.


Join the conversation! Use the hash tag #GAatSXSW to stay connected.

Check out the full schedule of GA + SXSW 2018 Programming. 

Global Applications for the Techstars Worldwide Network are Now Open!

There’s an often-repeated stat that 90 percent of startups fail. Not sure the source is, but no doubt that it scares entrepreneurs. At Techstars, we see the reverse in our accelerator portfolio – 90 percent of our startups are active or have successfully exited. Which statistic reflects your business? If you’re ready to succeed, take the next step and apply now to the Techstars worldwide network with more than 10,000 mentors, partners, investors and founders.

At Techstars, we are on a mission to help entrepreneurs succeed. Our mentorship-driven accelerator programs invest in founders to help them do more faster. Over the past 10 years we have helped over 1,274 companies grow and raise over $4.4 billion in funding, with a market cap of $11.4 billion. Now, we are excited to start the search for the next wave of companies to join our worldwide network!

We are reaching new regions and verticals around the world with our newest mentorship-driven accelerator programs. Applications are opening for five new programs:

Take the next step in your journey and apply to join the Techstars worldwide network with more than 10,000 mentors, partners, investors and founders.

This is more than a three month program, the Techstars worldwide network is for life. Listen to stories about our founders from Techstars alumni companies like SendGrid, ClassPass, and DigitalOcean.

Application deadline is April 8, 2018 for most programs. We will be announcing details for information sessions and online events where you can connect with Techstars founders and team, as well as mentors who have the experience and proven track record to help you succeed. Be on the lookout for more details soon!

When you apply, you can choose from any of the following locations and verticals:

For tips and resources on the application process, check out our Application Toolkit.