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Verizon Ventures, R/GA Team on Startup Program

Verizon Ventures and R/GA are teaming on a program focused on helping growth and early-stage companies that are involved in “disruptive technologies” tied to digital entertainment and media consumption.

They said the focus of the Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio will be focused on, but not limited to, areas such as content creation and personalization, VR/AR, AI, image recognition, content distribution, interactive advertising, eSports, and other emerging digital media platforms.

Per the new program’s web site, Verizon Ventures and R/GA will jointly invest up to $100,000 in each selected company, and select up to ten companies for the program. “Deal terms will depend in part on the stage of each startup as well as the terms of funding raised previously by each startup,” the program Q&A reads.

Selected companies will also have access to Verizon’s tech platforms and senior product leaders at Verizon’s digital businesses, including those involved with Fios, Go90, AOL and Verizon Digital Media Services. They’ll also get a chance to work with R/GA’s strategic marketing, consulting, branding, design, and technology teams.

The program will be held at Verizon’s new co-working facility in New York City’s Flatiron district. Program participants will need to make and pay for their own living arrangements.

The Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio’s application process runs from March 10 through May 30. Selected companies will be notified on July 5. The program will start on July 31, and conclude in mid-November, culminating in an invite-only demo event, where each selected company will get a chance to present to investors, industry leaders, and the press. 

"Verizon is at the forefront of the digital media revolution and we continue to explore the next wave of media innovation,” John Doherty, SVP of corporate development at Verizon and head of Verizon Ventures, said in a statement. “The Verizon Media Tech Ventures Studio with R/GA will connect us with emerging startups that are shaping the future of this business. Verizon and R/GA have created an advanced program for startups with unparalleled access to resources, technology and intellectual capital that will accelerate their growth.”

The new program appears to have some similarities to UpRamp, an accelerator/incubator program for startups from CableLabs. Under that program, selected companies get valuable exposure with cable operators and some guaranteed commercial deals. UpRamp also asks for a small equity stake, in the form of warrants, in each private company that’s picked for the program. 

RELATED: UpRamp Gets Small Stake In Startup Selections