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Santa Monica Upstart to Be Mentored by Disney

The 15-week program will give 11 companies, including Santa Monica's own Cogo, access to resources and mentorship from Disney executives. And oh yeah, money.

Cogo's logo (that's fun to say). Courtesy Cogo.
Cogo's logo (that's fun to say). Courtesy Cogo.

The Walt Disney Co. today launched a 15-week program in which 11 startup companies -- including one from Santa Monica -- will be given access to resources and mentorship from Disney executives and up to $120,000 in investment capital to develop their businesses.

"With Disney Accelerator, we are now bringing the creativity and imagination of Disney to early stage startups in a way we have never done before," said Kevin A. Mayer, Disney's executive vice president, Corporate Strategy and Business Development.

"We are thrilled by the response we've received and the high caliber of applicants to the program, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge with this excellent group of creative entrepreneurs and really making a difference with these startup companies," he said.

Participating mentors will include Disney Chairman and CEO Robert A. Iger and leaders from Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering, as well as other entertainment industry leaders and investors.

The participating companies' leadership "will meet with mentors regularly and work together to build and expand business plans, product launches, marketing campaigns and formulate long-term strategies," according to a Disney statement.

The program will culminate with a "Demo Day" in October, where each team will present their company to industry leaders, Disney executives and the entrepreneurial community.

The selected companies, which according to Disney represent a "diverse cross-section of technology-driven media and entertainment from many different geographies," include:

  • ChoreMonster of Cincinatti, a Web and mobile platform designed to make chores fun for kids
  • Codarica of Stockholm, which introduces children to the world of code with help from characters Cody Coder and Holly Hacker
  • Cogo of Santa Monica, which provides video monetization solutions for content creators
  • Jogg of Los Angeles, which simplifies the act of acquiring video
  • Ubooly of Boulder, Colo., a learning toy that talks and listens to kids and can be customized to know a child's name and teach lessons

The program is powered by Techstars, a startup accelerator and mentorship-driven seed stage investment program, according to Disney.

--City News Service


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