A Bristol start-up that 3D prints bionic hands for amputees has been chosen for Disney’s Accelerator programme ahead of 1,000 other entrants.
Open Bionics, which is based at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, will relocate to LA for the three-month programme.
The team. led by founders Joel Gibbard and Sammy Payne, will benefit from mentoring and investment of up to $120,000 (£77,000).
Sammy said: “We are thrilled. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get support and mentorship.
“We look forward to cultivating relationships with the various mentors, which will include top Disney executives and leaders from Pixar, Marvel, Lucas film, ABC, ESPN and Walt Disney Imagineering.
“We're really looking forward to learning from the creative and imaginative minds at The Walt Disney Company.”
Joel added: “We feel very lucky to have been selected for the Disney Accelerator which is powered by Tech Stars.
“It is considered one of the best startup accelerators in the world with fewer than one per cent of the companies applying to Techstars being accepted. We can't wait to see where this creative relationship leads.”
It’s not the first high profile win for the young company. It has won a string of awards and was runner up in Intel’s Make It Wearable pitching contest for wearable technology, claiming a £125,000 prize in the process.
The Disney programme starts straight away and end with a Demo Day on October 6.
The start-ups from last year’s cohort have all either raised capital, been acquired or become profitable since the end of the accelerator and many have launched products and programs in conjunction with Disney.
Kevin Mayer, chief strategy officer of The Walt Disney Company, said: “Last year’s Disney Accelerator exceeded our expectations on many fronts. We are excited to roll up our sleeves again this year and help these cutting-edge startups achieve their goals.”
Open Bionics was set up with the vision to use 3D printing to make prosthetic limbs affordable, aiming to bring the cost under $10,000 a tenth of the existing price.
Joel, chief executive, is the original engineer and was recently named Britain’s Design Engineer of the Year.
Sammy, chief operating officer, is a strong networker with a background in journalism who makes connections, gathers ideas and markets the company. She was a finalist in the Young Entrepreneur category at this year’s Bristol and Bath Women in Business Awards.
The company has since grown to a team of six.