In case you haven’t heard…!
Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Scripps Networks Interactive are teaming up to launch The Works, a startup accelerator for coders and lifestyle content developers. The program will bring national attention to Knoxville’s role as the hub of digital media and content creation in the South.
The Works is a combination of KEC’s successful programs, MediaWorks and CodeWorks. KEC is joining its proven accelerator methods with Scripps Networks Interactive’s successful lifestyle video content creation capabilities to drive innovation in the software development and digital media industries.
An intensive 12-week program for early stage companies, The Works will feature two startup tracks: CodeWorks is for technical founders looking to create a business that leverages their ability to write code and build product; MediaWorks is a program to help budding content creators develop products and services that build and engage lifestyle audiences, and find pathways to monetize those properties across multiple revenue channels.
Scripps Networks will take an equity interest in the four chosen startup businesses in the lifestyle and content space. The company is already an early-stage investor in a number of successful startup businesses around the United States, including Refinery29, Tastemade and Food52.
“Over the last three years, Knoxville Entrepreneur Center has played a key role in the continued development of East Tennessee’s startup culture,” said Ken Lowe, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Scripps Networks Interactive. “By partnering with KEC, we will use our experience and resources to help emerging lifestyle creators as well as software developers, and to continue to build the economic and entrepreneurial health of the region.”
“Building on our partnership with Scripps Networks, and utilizing their deep expertise in media and content production in this way is a significant milestone for KEC. It really takes MediaWorks to the next level, and is a tremendous opportunity for creators looking to develop the next great lifestyle content property. We’re building the first accelerator specifically focused on lifestyle content creators, and building a model for discovering and supporting the next generation of digital media companies,” said Jim Biggs, Executive Director for Knoxville Entrepreneur Center.
Eight teams will be chosen to participate in the three month program, anchored by a fast-paced curriculum that will allow the teams to test their business concepts through a combination of weekly classes, mentorship, interactions with industry leaders, co-working opportunities, special events and a pitch day. The 12-week accelerator provides over $50,000 worth of services, consulting, and potential financing.
As the third largest market for unscripted television production, lifestyle content is a particular strength for the Knoxville region. MediaWorks has already capitalized on that strength. Previous graduates include Knoxville-based Spare Time Entertainment, producer of the music video sensation Baraksdubs, which has garnered over 1.3 million YouTube subscribers and nearly 300 million views; and Children’s Media Studios, developer of the Sing ‘n Spell series of early learning products, soon to be preinstalled on over 7 million children’s tablet computers.
The program will launch in early June and conclude in late August. Applications for The Works are now open, and will close on May 15th. Applications and more information can be found online at www.theworks2016.com.