Warner Bros. graduated the first class of startups from its Media Camp accelerator program Tuesday in an event with distinct movie studio flair.
The demo day was the culmination of the 12-week startup mentorship program. Warner invested $20,000 in each company and provided workspace on the lot.
The five presenting startups were Dealflicks, a marketplace for unfilled movie theater seats based out of San Francisco; Kumbuya, a social commerce platform based out of Chicago; Cinecore, a Burbank company that digitizes production paperwork; Reelhouse Media, an online film distribution platform based in Vancouver; and Skit, a video production tool from a Cape Cod, Mass., company.
For many of the startups presenting, the goal of the demo day was to find investors or make business connections, said Joshua Karp, chief executive of Kumbuya.
"We met a number of people who represent funds or potential partners," he said. "Overall I thought it was fantastic. Warner Bros. really put a tremendous amount of terrific people in the room to hear what the five companies had to say."
Media Camp is a collaboration with Turner Broadcasting System Inc. Warner Bros. and Turner, which ran a similar program in the Bay Area last year, are both owned by New York media conglomerate Time Warner Inc.
Guests arriving to the lot for the event were greeted by golf carts that whisked them past outdoor sets to a movie theater where Media Camp's five graduating startups presented.
Unlike the demo days put on by L.A.'s other accelerator programs, which favor brief presentations without time for questions and answers, Media Camp allotted 15 minutes for each startup, including an introduction from a Warner Bros. executive and questions.
The differences between Media Camp and standard tech accelerators didn't end there, Karp said.
He noted that the program not only provided investment and mentorship, but also helped provide an entertainment focus to the business that wasn't there before. Thanks to the Warner Bros. connection, Kumbuya was able to create social platforms for movies and a TV show with built-in fan bases.
"We did not necessarily consider ourselves a media company, not as specifically as the other four companies," he said. "Kumbuya is a platform used by a huge variety of industries. Warner Bros. without a doubt brought us into a direction we had not been pursuing before and it looks like it will bear some fruit."
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