PlayLabs @ MIT

  • Location: North America, United States, Cambridge
  • Timing of Applications: Spring
  • Focus: AR/VR, Augmented Reality, Augmented/Virtual Reality, Gaming, Technology

Play Labs is a new startup incubator/accelerator program for MIT-affiliated startups using playful technologies in any industry. Playful technologies (see definition below) come in many forms, including Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 3d Modeling, Gamification, AI, which can be applied to industries such as Video Games, eSports, Healthcare, Simulation, Manufacturing, etc.

The first batch of Play Labs will be in the summer of 2017, and will consist of 5-10 MIT-affiliated startups who will receive an initial investment (of $20k), hands-on mentoring, a curriculum of speakers and advisors designed to help them make their startups successful, introductions to industry experts, and the ability to get a follow-on investment after graduating from the incubator as part of their seed round (up to an additional $80k).

Play Labs is a private venture run by Bayview Labs ( , and its executive director is Riz Virk, MIT ‘92, a successful entrepreneur in both video games and enterprise software, and angel investor in many playful companies.  Play Labs is hosted by the MIT Game Lab, whose faculty and researchers will be involved hands on with startups, and will take place on the MIT Campus.

Play Labs is being run in partnership with the Seraph Group (, a seed stage venture capital investment firm that invests in technology startups. Also participating is VR@MIT, a student organization on campus dedicated to fostering VR/AR/MR entrepreneurship at MIT (

For this incubator, we are open to applications from start-ups using playful technologies applied to any industry. This is a term which encompasses many technologies and applications related to gaming, play, and entertainment. Here are some examples:

         Playful Tech Examples

  • Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • 3d Modelling
  • 360 Video
  • Real time multiplayer
  • Cloud Streaming
  • Location Based
  • Video compression
  • Machine Vision

Application Examples

  • 3d Immersive Games
  • Education
  • Simulation/Training
  • Data Visualization
  • Finance
  • Healthcare
  • Collaboration
  • Design Visualization
  • Gamification
  • Aerospace / Manufacturing

Launching a startup can be a herculean task; making it successful can be even more challenging!  Many MIT alumni and members of the community have started, funded, grown and sold their companies. Play Labs is designed to help you get your company off the ground and on the right trajectory to success with advice, hands-on mentorship, financing and more.

Unlike many other accelerators, Play Labs is very focused. It is focused specifically on MIT students & alumni; it has the participation of MIT faculty and alumni; it is focused on certain kinds of playful technologies in gaming and other industries; it is focused on a small number of startups, and it is hosted on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA.

This focus allows us to bring in speakers, advisors, and mentors that are relevant and tailored to our group of startups. Play Labs startups will receive hands on mentoring from the Executive Director, Riz Virk ‘92, who has helped many entrepreneurs launch successful startups, from MIT faculty, and from many mentors and speakers who have been through what you are going through. We also have many service providers that will be able to help you get your company ready for launch.

Every team accepted into Play Labs will receive $20k at the start of the program in exchange in for 6% common equity.

This money will help the team get through the summer, and each company that graduates will be eligible for a follow on investment of up to $80k as part of a follow-on seed round, which is typically done as a convertible note. Startups will need to meet certain criteria in their seed round for the follow-on investment.