Comcast Atlanta accelerator to be named 'The Farm'; Managed by Boulder's Boomtown

Tom Paine

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When Comcast NBC Universal announced its new accelerator program, Lift Labs, on March 6, it named Techstars to oversee the Philadelphia program and said plans for an accelerator at Comcast's new complex near Atlanta, in the Battery Atlanta development next to the Brave's new ballpark (SunTrust Park, opening in April) in suburban Cobb County, would be announced soon after.

Those plans were announced last Thursday. Boomtown, an accelerator originating from Boulder, will guide the Atlanta program, named "The Farm", slated to open around the beginning of next year. The Farm will focus on mobility, connectivity and communications.

Rendering of The Farm ( Comcast / Boomtown)

Techstars also originated, though much earlier, in Boulder, but has programs all over the world. This will be Boomtown's, which started in 2013, first program outside of Boulder.

Boulder's Boomtown says on its LinkedIn page that it focuses on "media, IoT, B2B, ad-tech and health tech and that teams get to be surrounded by the resources they need most early on (branding and logo design, marketing, code feedback, usability testing)".

Comcast has partnered with Boomtown before, sponsoring the Connectivity Lab in Boulder, focused on developing internet of things (IoT) products. Boomtown Boulder is said to have a great IoT lab.

Boomtown's Toby Krout speaking at TAG / Boomtown Blog
Boomtown’s Executive Director Toby Krout presented The Farm’s concept to a crowd of nearly 1,000 attendees at TAG’s (Technology Association of Georgia) annual technology summit last week.

A managing director of The Farm will be named in the next few weeks.

Boulder's tech scene is denser than than Philly's, with a concentration of major tech firms with large outposts there including Google, Oracle, IBM, Lockheed and others, as well as a vibrant startup community. The surrounding area is also a primary center for cable and communications technologies, with CableLabs, Liberty Media, Dish, Level 3, Layer3, and a growing Comcast development hub located in the vicinity.

Atlanta's a different tech ecosystem, which tends to run toward systems software, enterprise and healthcare systems though by no means exclusively, so the skill sets might be somewhat different than Boulder's.

Comcast supplier Arris is nearby, and Cox Communications (one of few remaining major cable companies) and parent Cox Enterprises are headquartered there. Also there's AT&T Mobility, and Turner Broadcasting which will also likely become part of AT&T through the Time Warner deal. And Comcast will be adding its own development staff at the Battery, in addition to its regional personnel. The Atlanta region is served by Comcast Cable, and Atlanta is its Central Division headquarters.

Cox Enterprises lunched an Atlanta program with Techstars in late 2015. Cox Enterprises also backs a $250 million venture fund focused on Atlanta-area technology firms.

Atlanta Tech Village is also a major startup hub.

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