Eight teams, €25,000 each and three months to build a trail-blazing digital business – or at least give it a good start. This, in a corporate pow-wow room turned open office complete with artist-in-residence, is the plan at Axel Springer Plug and Play in Berlin.
The startup accelerator, a collaboration with Sunnyvale tech centre Plug and Play, is just starting its second round. On Wednesday, the team presented the new participants in the programme to a small gathering of journalists, executives and alumni.
It’s a mix of Berlin and Silicon Valley, corporate and startup, art and business. The graffiti on the walls – a legacy from an artist who spent time in the space – pokes fun at the contrast. “Kai [Diekmann] has rented it, I destroy it”, reads one colourful scrawl.
Destroy Axel Springer? The hope is that a migration online will do exactly the opposite. The group is in the middle of a strategic transition, ditching certain print titles and signing deals with internet company builder Project A and fitness app Runtastic, among others.
We spoke to new Axel Springer Plug and Play CEO Jörg Rheinboldt about the programme’s strategy and to startup teams old and new about their experience so far. Scroll past the video for a full list of companies participating in this round.
Axel Springer Plug and Play – the eight teams this round
- 101 Media is developing a video-on-demand marketplace for films and videos. With 101, filmmakers can sell and distribute their videos directly to the end consumer.
- Blogfoster is a software for the self-determined monetisation and analysis of blogs worldwide. It lets blog publishers select and style each advertisement.
- Cartmi makes online shopping easy with a wish list for users to save products across devices and channels. They can then buy items with just one click.
- Embraase offers instant content distribution for apps and mobile games based on behavioural data and “without the regular update cycle”.
- Get2Play is an e-learning platform for music – via both online live sessions and multimedia courses.
- Jobspotting is a job discovery engine founded by three ex-Googlers and built on smart classifiers, linguistic analysis and modern graph technology.
- Socius is a social media curation and publishing platform for brands, events and publishers. With Socius it’s easy to create beautiful and engaging social hubs.
- VINTAGEHUB is a mobile pre-loved fashion marketplace with a twist: “real-time virtual style parties”.
Video shot and produced by Patrick Steller.