In one of its first standalone moves, UNION has landed a partnership to host Comcast NBCUniversal’s LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs program, the D.C.-based software startup will announce today.
Through the partnership, LIFT Labs, whose accelerator is powered by Techstars, will run its programming and broaden the reach of its online resources to other startups and entrepreneurs on UNION.
The new partnership marks the first standalone move UNION has made since it spun out of 1776 during the merger with Philadelphia-based co-working group Benjamin’s Desk in October. Evan Burfield, co-founder, former CEO and now executive chairman of 1776, runs the software startup. In December, UNION announced it would be hosting 1776 and Revolution’s Challenge Cup semifinal competitions on its platform, as well.
Now that its spin-out is complete, UNION is focusing on landing partnerships in its three SaaS product offerings:
- A product for startup hubs, which includes operating resources for places like 1776 and Austin-based Capital Factory;
- A more customizable product for corporate labs, where UNION’s technology offerings are customized to fit the individual needs of corporations that run in-house accelerators;
- And a combined offering for challenges, which combine the startup hub and corporate lab offerings. An example is Transurban and 1776’s Smart Highways Challenge.
“It’s crucial we continue to bring all parties to the table to develop a strong community of support and resources for entrepreneurs,” said Evan Burfield, CEO at UNION, in a statement. “By sharing select content globally, Comcast NBCUniversal will provide hundreds of startups access to their invaluable insights.”
Comcast NBCUniversal launches the multi-city program, LIFT Labs, this year at Comcast’s technology center in Philadelphia and applications for the program open Monday. The program, focused on media, entertainment and connectivity startups, includes a variety of in-person and virtual programs, including a startup accelerator powered by Techstars, entrepreneurs’ resource center and various entrepreneurship-focused programs. Techstars will also use the UNION platform. A second LIFT Labs is also set to open in Atlanta later in 2018, and it’s unclear who the accelerator partner will be yet.
UNION is used by 75 incubators, startup hubs and investor groups worldwide, according to the company. The virtual platform offers a way for entrepreneurs, mentors and investors anywhere to connect one-on-one.
For LIFT Labs, specifically, UNION will power the application platform, distribute Comcast and Techstars-created content to both participating startups and UNION members and offer the usually virtual courses and mentor office hours. All of Techstars startup members — no matter the city they’re located in — will also be able to access the content the company creates through LIFT Labs by joining UNION.
“Techstars plans to use the UNION platform to efficiently connect ‘Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars’ companies with resources across Comcast NBCUniversal and their extensive network of partners,” said David Cohen, founder and co-CEO of Techstars, in a statement. “In addition, Techstars alumni will have the opportunity to use the platform to access the Comcast NBCUniversal network of industry leaders and engage with the entrepreneurial community.”