CAMBRIDGE, MA — Play Labs, LLC and the MIT Game Lab, announced that applications are now open for the second batch of startups within the playful technology accelerator, which will run from June through August 2018 on campus at MIT in Cambridge. Startups that are accepted into Play Labs will each receive an initial investment of $20,000 in either cash or Bitcoin in return for common stock. Startups that graduate from the program and meet certain criteria will be eligible for up to $80,000 in additional funding from the Play Labs Fund and its investment partners.
Deadlines for applications are due March 15th, after which time, finalists will be selected, and a subset of those finalists will be given offers to participate in the program. Applications are open to both MIT-affiliated startups, and startups with no MIT affiliation that wish to come to MIT for the summer to participate.
Play Labs (www.playlabs.tv) provides mentoring, facilities, and funding for early stage startups that utilize “playful technology.” The areas of technology for this second batch of incubated startups include:
- Digital Currency/Blockchain: The explosion of digital currencies like Bitcoin and the underlying technology, blockchain, have created a new virtual economy and opportunities for decentralizing many industries.
- eSports/Video Game: Video games have moved into the competitive era, and esports is seen as one of the biggest opportunities for expansion.
- VR/AR: A big focus for the first batch of incubated startups in Play Labs, now VR and AR are categories that continue to evolve and will revolutionize any industry.
- Machine Learning/AI: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning software and hardware (i.e. robotics) have advanced to the point of many practical applications.
Candidate startups may apply these technology areas into any industry, including video games, esports, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and more. As before, the program will be run by Bayview Labs (www.bayviewlabs.com) and its executive director, Rizwan Virk, an MIT alumnus (MIT ‘92 BS Computer Science & Engineering), and a prolific Silicon Valley angel investor, advisor and mentor. Virk and Bayview have been early investors in Bitcoin and blockchain startups, as well as a long list of successful gaming-related tech startups including Tapjoy, Discord, Funzio, Pocket Gems, Telltale Games, and Sliver.tv.