Saturday, October 18, 2014

Disney Feeds Startups

The Mouse provides seed money to newer companies.

In Disney's first-ever "accelerator" program, 10 start-ups got up to $120,000 each from the company, along with mentorship from dozens of Disney executives, entrepreneurs and investors. At a "Demo Day" on Tuesday, Iger and other Disney execs got to learn from entrepreneurs about cutting-edge technologies.

"The more touch points we can create with the new world order, with changes that are occurring in our market every day, that will have profound effects on our business long term—the better off we are," Iger said. ...

Iger and his team hand-selected the companies, which by the end of the 15-week program had each struck a different deal with one of Disney's divisions. ...

Jeffrey Katenberg, late of Diz Co., is working to turn DreamWorks into a min-conglomerate patterned after the Disney of the 1950s, which was also branching out from its core business of animation. (Of course, he's also trying to seek DWA).

Meantime, Robert Iger is taking a leaf out of the Warren Buffett playbook and turning Disney into the Berkshire Hathaway of entertainment conglomerates, letting a lot of different newly acquired companies under the big umbrella operate pretty much as separate entities, with their old management intact.

Judging from Disney's rising stock price, this approach seems to be working.


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