Verizon may be best known as one of the largest US fixed line and network operators, but it has other divisions and interests too -- one of which is a startup accelerator. Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio has just announced the first round of startups that will be going through the accelerator, with a focus on media and analytics companies.
Each of the eight startups will receive US$100,000 in funding. The program lasts 14 weeks, and will take place at Verizon's new co-working offices, named "Alley,' in New York City's Flatiron district. Global advertising company R/GA is Verizon's partner in the accelerator; the agency will be offering its expertise in "strategic marketing, design, development, and branding services", while both Verizon and R/GA will offer partnerships and mentoring to the startups.
R/GA has experience with startup accelerators, as it already runs the successful R/GA Accelerator, which focuses on connected devices and the Internet of Things. One of TechX365's profiled startups, Chargifi, took part in the 2015 edition of that accelerator. (See Startup Profile: Chargifi.)
The startups involved in the Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio are:
Ad Lightning - removes bad, unsuitable adverts on publishers' websites, maximising potential revenue and therefore increasing profit margins.
cognitiveVR - virtual and augmented reality analytics and insights for publishers, marketers, researchers and developers.
GankStars - a competitive, nationally and internationally-ranked mobile-first eSports platform for games such as Overwatch and Vainglory.
Imposium - adds data to videos automatically using dynamic rendering, so each video has been personally "created", leading to better sales figures and more engagement.
ScoreStream - a crowdsourcing social platform for locally produced sports content, getting the user involved with the in-game action and similarly-minded fans.
Vidrovr - takes a company's video output and analyzes it, making it more discoverable and searchable, increasing revenue for firms using the platform.
Streamroot - aimed at large OTT and broadcast providers, Streamroot provides higher quality video for, it claims, a fraction of the cost of existing systems.
Transmit.Live - simplifying livestreaming video production, driving engagement forward and reducing the overhead of livestreaming a concert, conference or festival.
It's not surprising Verizon is launching a startup accelerator and venture fund. Many large companies take startups under their wings in order to help them grow and, potentially, engage with them in the future. Large, established companies such as Verizon and R/GA find it hard to innovate within the confines of their operational structures, so they often turn to startups for innovation and then partner with them or acquire them. (See BT's Latest Infinity Lab Searches for IoT Startups.)
Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio's demo day is on 9 November. It's an invite-only affair where the eight startups will pitch to top venture capitalists, industry leaders, angel investors and key Verizon and R/GA executives in a bid to raise funding. Verizon and R/GA will continue to support the startups after the program ends, hopefully guaranteeing the long-term future of these eight promising startups.