Disney has selected six companies for its annual accelerator, highlighting the company’s keen interest in AR, NFTs and AI characters.
The program, which starts this week, will connect executives from the selected tech companies with Disney’s senior leadership team members, who will offer guidance and mentorship. Disney will also explore developing new technologies and storytelling methods with these companies to increase innovation within its businesses.
Augmented reality seems to be of particular interest in this round. Disney selected LA-based Flickplay (pictured), an app allowing users to collect NFTs that can be viewed via AR; and Florida’s Red 6, which makes its own AR headsets that can work outdoors. It also chose New York-based Obsess, an e-commerce platform for brands to create 3D/AR virtual stores for their websites.
Tapping into the buzz around web3, the House of Mouse seiected Lockerverse, a platform enabling brands to tell stories and deliver content to fans; and India’s Polygon, a crypto/blockchain network where companies can build their own apps to operate on it.
Capping off the list, Disney picked California’s Inworld, a platform where brand owners can build AI-powered versions of their characters to live in VR/AR games and virtual environments like Roblox.
Disney launched its accelerator program in 2014. Companies that go through it often end up landing licensing deals and content partnerships with the House of Mouse. Examples include robot maker Sphero, which made products based on Star Wars characters; and edtech company BYJU’s, which created physical workbooks and an AR educational app featuring Disney’s characters.