Will Axel Springer inject another € 50 million in the Berlin startup scene?

24 Jan, 2013

According to deutsche-startups, Axel Springer is in ‘early talks’ with Berlin based incubator Project A to invest € 50 million in the incubator. It says multiple sources confirmed that there are ‘intense negotiations’ between Springer and Project A.

Project A was started by former Rocket Internet executive Florian Heinemann with Uwe Horstmann, Thies Sander and Christian Weiss. It received an initial investment of € 50 million from German mail order and e-commerce giant Otto. To date, Project A Ventures made 11 investments.

Deutsche startups notes that there are nice synergies between Springer, Otto and Project A: Otto founder Michael Otto is on the board of directors at Springer. Otto can bring a lot of know how in e-commerce, Springer can leverage its media properties, and the Project A team has the finger on the pulse of the startup scene. Springer also recently invested in the new Berlin startup event HyBerlin.

Recently, Thomas Grota from T-Ventures (venturing arm of T-Mobile) said 2013 would become a “make or break” year for Berlin as a tech hub. Another € 50 million injected into the scene would definitely help to provide a solid foundation.

Axel Springer seems determined to make a successful transition from a (print) publisher to an important digital player in Europe. It has been acquiring several market leaders around Europe, among which Belgian online real estate platform Immoweb (€ 127 million). It’s also experimenting with online content streaming through ‘Bild Movies’ (in collaboration with Vivendi).

Photo: Andre Pierre, Flickr

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).