Today Bayview Labs, LLC and Seraph Group have announced the launch of a tech startup accelerator for MIT students and alumni called Play Labs, focusing on playful technologies.
With the aim to help those wishing to start their own venture, the focus of the first batch of applications will be virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), although the incubator will also consider tech startups including 3d modeling, rendering, streaming, gamification, artificial intelligence and machine vision. Industries such as online/mobile/VR gaming, esports, entertainment, education, healthcare, finance, and more are all viable.
Run by Bayview Labs, and its executive director, Rizwan Virk, an MIT alum and a Silicon Valley angel investor, advisor and mentor, in conjunction with the Seraph Group, a seed stage venture capital investment firm founded by Tuff Yen, the programme will run from June – August, 2017 on campus at MIT in Cambridge, MA. During which time startup teams will be mentored by the Executive Director, and by faculty and staff from the MIT Game Lab. Additional speakers and mentors for the accelerator will include entrepreneurs and experts in product design, sales and marketing, and fundraising, drawn from MIT alumni and Seraph Group.
“MIT has been the starting point for many successful startups over the years,” said Virk. “Recently, a lot of focus or playful and gaming technologies, particularly VR/AR, has been on the West Coast, but I believe that the eco-system around MIT in Boston has great talent and startup ideas in these areas.
“When I graduated from MIT and thought of doing my first startup, I wish I had this kind of accelerator program, with support from both MIT staff and industry entrepreneurs and mentors. That’s why I designed the program in this way.”
Startups accepted into Play Labs will each receive an initial investment of $20,000 USD from the Play Labs Fund in return for common stock. Graduating startups that also meet certain criteria will be eligible for an additional investment, up to $80,000, from Play Labs and its investment partners.
“MIT students thrive on innovation and creative exploration,” said Scot Osterweil, Managing Director for LUDUS, the MIT Center for Games, Learning, and Playful Media. “We are pleased that through Play Labs we will help them move their most imaginative ideas into the realm of the possible.”
“We see tremendous opportunity to invest, support and partner with the MIT community of outstanding people,” said Tuff Yen, the founder and President of Seraph Group, a seed stage technology investment firm. “Our network of successful investors will bring valuable experience, access and resources to startups.”
The deadline for applications is 20th February, 2017. Further information on the program, eligibility, and benefits can be found here.
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