Disney’s Startup Accelerator Program
Will Change the World!
[This article was initially written and published by Kevin Ott for ArticlesBase.com as “Disney Loves Small Beginnings: Its Astonishing Startup Accelerator Program and Why It Will Change the World,” but it has been syndicated to RockingGodsHouse.com under a Creative Commons License.]
A viral meme shows the starship Enterprise from Star Trek readying itself to jump into warp speed, trying desperately to outrun an Imperial starship from Star Wars. The meme’s caption says it all.
Some might feel that Disney (#Disney) has gotten too big. It’s everywhere. We can’t escape. Large entities in human society always attract negative emotions — cynicism, envy, even anger — but there’s a side to Disney that the public doesn’t always see.
The Mouse likes small things — small beginnings, especially.
The 2007 Disney film “Meet the Robinsons,” of all its films and TV shows, conveys Disney’s soul the most clearly in this regard.
In the film, a family of genius innovators transforms the future for the better with their wild ideas and whacky inventions — and with their determination. The motto of this fictional inventor family is “keep moving forward,” a motto that Walt Disney used. The family keeps all of their failed inventions on display as a reminder: “Look how many times we failed, but we never gave up. Now we’re here.”
This “keep moving forward” culture manifests most visibly in Disney’s Startup Accelerator Program (#DisneyAccel). This year marks their second go-round with startup tech companies: finding small ones, investing in them, coaching them, and, if all goes well, launching them into a bright, Meet-the-Robinsons-like future.
Last year’s inaugural Startup Accelerator Program has already yielded some fascinating results.
Take the ChoreMonster app from ChoreMonster.com (#ChoreMonster), for example. Kids and parents download the ChoreMonster app, and it makes chores fun. Epic fun. As in I-love-doing-my-chores-as-much-as-playing-video-games fun.
ChoreMonster essentially transfers the template of a gaming experience — where points earned unlocks fun items and new levels — into physical reality.
Kids earn experience points whenever they do a chore, and they (and their parents) use the app to track points. When the points hit parent-designated levels, rewards — i.e. a trip to the movies, money, candy — are “unlocked.”
They’re essentially flame-throwing the world of household labor with pixelated digital joy: video games become reality; reality becomes video games — but in a good way. Kids have fun doing chores. Parents pull less hair out. It’s a simple but beautiful equation.
And then there’s Codarica (#CodaricaHQ), which teaches kids to code using a video game environment and addictive storytelling. (Brilliant.)
Disney has helped both companies build apps.
Disney has also given $2.2 million in seed money to SnowShoe (#SnowShowStamp), a company that creates something small and charming but earth-shattering called a SnowShoe stamp, a little plastic card with a secret digital identity that can interact with any touch-sensitive mobile device by briefly pressing it to the screen like a stamp.
And, when the implications of this new invention sink in, a person’s reaction typically involves a jaw dropping to the floor or disbelief.
The stamp creates a fully customizable bridge between your digital world and any physical object you choose. According to Medium.com:
“Something magical happens when ordinary objects are intrinsically linked to digital assets. Imagine simply touching a plastic toy to the screen of your smartphone and having that character teleport into a mobile game. Imagine simply touching your iTunes gift card to your phone screen to have your credits magically appear in your account. Imagine touching your tablet to your espresso machine and having the instruction manual appear alongside an order form for new, model-specific water filters.”
It’s undeniable: Disney has an eye for finding little treasures with big potential — for sifting through small beginnings to find big dreams.
And everyone’s waiting with baited breath to see who will be chosen in their next Accelerator Program and featured in the much-anticipated Demo Day on Oct. 6, 2015.
Through it all, Walt Disney’s words ring louder and louder: “keep moving forward” — even if it’s only a small beginning.