Axel Springer and Plug and Play Tech Center, a leading accelerator and startup investor based in Silicon Valley, have signed an agreement for the establishment of a new accelerator program for start-up companies in Germany and Europe. The two companies each hold a 50 per cent stake in the program called “Axel Springer Plug and Play” and based in Berlin. The symbolic signing of the agreement by Peter Würtenberger, Chief Marketing Officer of Axel Springer, and Saeed Amidi, CEO and founder of Plug and Play Tech Center, took place today in Sunnyvale/Silicon Valley in the presence of the German Federal Minister of Economics and Technology and Vice Chancellor Philipp Rösler.
“Axel Springer Plug and Play” will focus on providing a targeted support program to German and European founders in the development and implementation of digital business ideas. At the same time, start-up firms in the United States are offered support in their expansion to Germany and Europe. Headed by Ulrich Schmitz, Chief Technology Officer of Axel Springer’s Electronic Media Division, and Saeed Amidi the new accelerator unites the reach and network of Axel Springer with the know-how of an experienced player in the Silicon Valley ecosystem. Since its founding in 2006, Plug and Play Tech Center has helped grow over 1200 start-ups. The company has co-invested and partnered with over 100 venture capital firms and has more than 100 global corporate partnerships. In total, start-ups from the American Plug and Play network have raised over one billion US dollars in venture capital so far.
The program “Axel Springer Plug and Play” lasts from three to six months. In addition to individual seed investment in the amount of between 10,000 to 50,000 euros it includes the provision of office space in Berlin and intensive coaching by mentors. In return the participating start-ups generally assign five percent of their company shares to the accelerator. Two program cycles are planned for 2013. Selected companies are also offered the opportunity to complete a part of the program at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Silicon Valley. At the end of the program start-ups will be given an opportunity to pitch to a selected audience of international venture capitalists in the course of a “Demo Day”.
Jens Müffelmann, Head of Axel Springer’s Electronic Media Division: “With ‘Axel Springer Plug and Play’ we aim to support and accelerate innovative digital business ideas from conception through implementation. We are thereby broadening our current investment horizon in the context of our digitization offensive. Our partner Plug and Play Tech Center has excellent contacts and accelerator experience in Silicon Valley as well as in other markets; we now plan to combine this with our network and expertise in Germany and Europe. ‘Axel Springer Plug and Play’ plans to fund some twenty young start-up companies this year.”
“The bridge between Berlin and Silicon Valley provided by ‘Axel Springer Plug and Play’ can impact the success of entrepreneurs in thinking bigger and globally”, Saeed Amidi says. “Berlin can become the center of media and technology start-up entrepreneurs in Europe.”
The partnership between Plug and Play Tech Center and Axel Springer was initiated and conceptualized by Peter Würtenberger, BILD editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann and idealo founder Martin Sinner, who are currently in Silicon Valley in conjunction with a digital research project.
“Axel Springer Plug and Play” is scheduled to launch in May 2013. Applications can be submitted online beginning March 15, 2013 at www.axelspringerplugandplay.com.