LIFT Labs is a multi-city startup Accelerator run from Philadelphia, powered Comcast NBCUniversal, Techstars, and an Entrepreneurs’ Resource Center. The program started in 2017 to focus on assisting startups with new innovations through a 13-week program in media, entertainment and connectivity.1
LIFT stands for “Leveraging Innovation For Tomorrow” and builds on the spirit of entrepreneurship created by Comcast’s founder, Ralph Roberts, who was a pioneer in the cable industry and one of America’s great entrepreneurs. The flagship location is called LIFT Labs PHL and was hosted at the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia. A second LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs program is hosted in Atlanta.
“Comcast was a startup more than 50 years ago in the Philadelphia region, and we understand the importance of entrepreneurialism to help drive growth, innovation, and the economy,” said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast Cable. “We are excited to work alongside and learn from some of the best entrepreneurs while offering access to our experienced innovators to help them grow their businesses and take them to the next level.”
Another important component of LIFT Labs will be the entrepreneurs’ resource center that will provide resources for startups at all stages. Resources will include mentorship from Comcast NBCUniversal innovators and third-party partners. LIFT Labs will complement many partners’ existing startup education and resources available at the national and local level.
Comcast NBCUniversal has a long history of supporting startups and helping them grow. LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs builds on many Comcast NBCUniversal initiatives, including:
- Comcast Interactive Capital launched in 1999 in Philadelphia as the company’s venture capital fund to seek, acquire, and manage investments associated with the internet.
- In 2011, Comcast announced that it combined Comcast Interactive Capital, the venture capital affiliate of the company, with the Peacock Equity Fund, formerly the venture capital affiliate of NBCUniversal and General Electric, into a newly combined fund called Comcast Ventures. Comcast Ventures invests in seed through late stage businesses that represent the next generation of technologies that will change the way people live, work and interact. Initial investments by Comcast Ventures typically range from $2 million to $15 million, and it has grown to nearly 100 companies in its portfolio. As part of Comcast Ventures, the Catalyst Fund was established, an early stage investor in minority-led tech companies.
- In 2016, Comcast NBCUniversal launched the Tomorrow Tour, a multi-city event series that convenes entrepreneurs and technology and innovation influencers for a day of knowledge-sharing to help cities better articulate their innovation stories. Research from this tour was used in the creation of LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs programs.
- Comcast was the first National Corporate Sponsor of Bunker Labs, an innovation accelerator for military-led businesses. The company is also the Founding Sponsor of Philadelphia’s Bunker Labs location.
- Comcast NBCUniversal also supports local and national partner programs, such as Startup Grind, Dreamers // Doers, university innovation partnerships, city tech weeks, among others.
The program is led by KJ Singh, Techstars’ Managing Director of the program, Danielle Cohn, Head of LIFT Labs, and Program Manager, Rachel Greenspan. Mentors include Robert Macdonald of 21st Century Fox, Nick Rockwell from New York Times, Monica Landers of StoryFit, NBCUniversal’s Maggie Suniewick, Felix Litvinsky of Blackstone Launchpad, Matt Lieber from Gimlet Media, Rich Mahoney of Seismic, Rudiger Ellis from Switchboard Live, and many more.2