'The Farm' brings startups to SunTrust Park

The Atlanta Braves aren't the only entity getting a fresh start at SunTrust Park.

Comcast NBCUniversal announced that they have partnered with Boomtown Accelerator for a new startup program called “The Farm”. The program will be based at their regional headquarters and Innovation Lab in The Battery adjacent to Suntrust Park. Atlanta is the second city to launch Comcast’s LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs program after Philadelphia.

The accelerator, otherwise known as The Farm, will host two startup cohorts each year for a 12-week program. The Farm will accept around 10 startups in each class from all over the world, Boomtown co-founder and Executive Toby Krout says ideally half will be from the Atlanta region and half from elsewhere. An offer of $20K for each startup (in exchange for 6 percent common stock equity), as well as perks which include hosting, software discounts, office space and more - which add up to over $1 million. The companies will need to be located in Atlanta for the duration of the program and applications will be opening up this summer for the first class of 2018.

Bill Sweeney, Vice-President of Marketing at Comcast, goes over how the accelerator is actively looking for companies in the mobility, connectivity, and communications space, they are not limiting themselves to startups in those categories. Sweeney states, “Even looking at all of the investments we’ve made in the region over the past few years, this will be one of the best investments we will get to make, not only for the community, but to our employees and our customers.”

Comcast and Boomtown already had a partnership in Boulder, where together they built one of the world’s first Internet of Things labs under the Comcast Labs program. It will be the first program for Boomtown outside of Boulder, Sweeney said they chose Boomtown to lead the Atlanta division of LIFT for its proven track record - over 80% of alumni companies are in operation, with 72% generating revenue. It has created over 400 jobs and generated over $40 million in investment dollars.

The Battery will also contain Comcast’s Division headquarters which will host resources for entrepreneurs not necessarily enrolled in the accelerator. A Hardware Development Lab will have space for 30-5 early-stage entrepreneurs working on IoT hardware projects. Additionally and incubator will provide more space, mentorship and resources with no set time frame for early-stage startups in any industry, ranging from 2-8 employees. The two spaces require an application process, but will be completely free for the selected companies. Comcast will also have an event space with the purpose of bringing in organizations and programs in the Atlanta startup space to engage the community, as well as provide educational resources for students, founders and entrepreneurs.

“We are excited to launch a program that will add to Atlanta’s and Georgia’s reputation for attracting and supporting tech innovation and creating a world-class startup environment,” said Bill Connors, president of Comcast’s Central Division. It will be a different kind of program than any of Atlanta’s current accelerators and opportunities will arise for innovators all around. Comcast and Boomtown are currently in the process of hiring a Managing Director and team of 5-10 to run the Atlanta accelerator and Lab. If you would like to find more information or updates, visit their website at http://thefarmatl.com.

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© 2016 Rick Limpert and Wireless Wednesday Live

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