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Axel Springer Plug and Play

Berlin-based pre-seed startup Accelerator.
Axel Springer Plug and Play
Leadership team

Jens Lapinski (Founder)

Julian Deutz (Founder)

Ulrich Schmitz (Founder)

Saeed Amidi (Founder)

Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
Berlin, Germany
Established
2013
Social Media
Summary

Axel Springer Plug and Play is a startup accelerator program that was established in 2013 in Berlin, Germany, as a joint venture between Axel Springer SE and Plug and Play. The program offers mentorship, networking opportunities, and funding to early-stage startups primarily in the media and technology sectors.

Since its inception, Axel Springer Plug and Play has expanded globally and now operates in several locations worldwide, including San Francisco, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Seoul, with each location having a specific focus. The program has funded and supported over 200 startups, with many of these companies going on to become successful in their respective industries.

Axel Springer Plug and Play's recent achievements include investments in innovative startups such as ONKOMIQ and Korner, the launch of a new program in Seoul, and hosting its fifth Demo Day in Berlin, showcasing startups that had participated in the program. Axel Springer Plug and Play have become a well-respected and influential player in the global startup ecosystem, providing invaluable support and resources to early-stage companies in various industries, with the goal of helping them achieve their full potential.


History

Axel Springer Plug and Play is a startup accelerator program that was established in 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The program is a joint venture between Axel Springer SE, a leading digital publisher in Europe, and Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley-based accelerator.

The idea behind the accelerator was to provide support to early-stage startups, primarily in the media and technology sectors. The program offers mentorship, networking opportunities, and funding to startups that are selected to participate.

Axel Springer Plug and Play has since expanded beyond Berlin and now operates in several locations worldwide, including San Francisco, Beijing, and Tel Aviv. Each location has a specific focus, with San Francisco primarily focused on technology startups, while Tel Aviv focuses on cybersecurity and Beijing on innovation in the Chinese market.

The accelerator has funded and supported over 200 startups since its inception, with many of these companies going on to become successful in their respective industries. Some notable alumni of the program include the virtual reality platform Vizor, the news aggregator app News Republic, and the language learning platform Babbel.

In addition to the accelerator program, Axel Springer Plug and Play also organize events and conferences, such as the Plug and Play Tech Center EXPO in Silicon Valley, which brings together startups, investors, and industry experts.

Axel Springer Plug and Play has also continued to expand its global presence. In 2020, the accelerator announced the launch of a new program in Seoul, South Korea, focused on supporting startups in the media, e-commerce, and digital marketing sectors. The program provides startups with mentorship, networking opportunities, and funding, and is part of Axel Springer Plug and Play's ongoing efforts to support innovation and entrepreneurship around the world.

In 2019, the accelerator hosted the fifth edition of its Demo Day in Berlin, which featured pitches from 15 startups that had participated in the program. The event was attended by investors, industry experts, and media professionals, and provided a platform for startups to showcase their products and ideas.

Axel Springer Plug and Play has continued to support and invest in innovative startups across various industries. In 2021, the accelerator announced that it had invested in nine startups, including healthcare app ONKOMIQ and home security platform Korner. In addition to financial support, these startups also received mentorship and access to resources through the program.


Investment criteria

Axel Springer Plug and Play invest in early-stage startups primarily in the media and technology sectors, with a focus on companies that have innovative business models, a scalable product or service, and a strong potential for growth.

The accelerator program is open to startups from around the world, and the investment criteria include:

  • Strong Team: The accelerator looks for startups with a talented and dedicated team that has a track record of executing on their vision.
  • Innovative Product or Service: The accelerator looks for startups with a unique and innovative product or service that solves a real-world problem and has the potential to disrupt an industry.
  • Scalability: The accelerator looks for startups that have a product or service that can scale rapidly, both in terms of user acquisition and revenue growth.
  • Market Potential: The accelerator looks for startups with a large addressable market that has the potential for significant growth.
  • Traction: The accelerator looks for startups that have achieved some level of traction, such as customer acquisition, revenue, or partnerships.
  • Fit with Axel Springer SE: The accelerator looks for startups that have a strategic fit with Axel Springer SE, such as companies that could benefit from the media company's resources or expertise.

Values

Axel Springer Plug and Play operates based on several core values that guide its operations and interactions with startups, investors, and partners. These values include:

  • Entrepreneurship: Axel Springer Plug and Play values entrepreneurship and encourages startups to take risks and pursue their visions.
  • Innovation: The accelerator values innovation and supports startups that have unique and innovative business models or technologies.
  • Collaboration: Axel Springer Plug and Play values collaboration and fosters a community of startups, mentors, and investors that work together to help each other succeed.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: The accelerator values diversity and inclusion and strives to create an environment where people from all backgrounds and cultures feel welcome and supported.
  • Integrity: Axel Springer Plug and Play values integrity and operates with transparency, honesty, and fairness in all of its interactions with startups, investors, and partners.
  • Impact: The accelerator values impact and encourages startups to create positive change in their industries and communities.

 


Mission

Axel Springer Plug and Play's mission is “to empower entrepreneurs and support innovation by providing startups with the resources, mentorship, and funding they need to succeed.” 

The accelerator program aims to identify promising startups with innovative business models and technologies and help them grow their businesses.

Axel Springer Plug and Play strive to create a global community of startups, investors, and partners that work together to support entrepreneurship and innovation.


Portfolio

Axel Springer Plug and Play has an impressive portfolio of startups that have participated in its accelerator program and received funding, mentorship, and support. The program has invested in over 200 startups since its inception, and many of these companies have gone on to achieve significant growth and success in their industries.

Some of the notable startups in Axel Springer Plug and Play's portfolio include:

  • FlixBus: A German long-distance bus company that has disrupted the transportation industry with its low-cost, sustainable bus service.
  • N26: A German digital bank that offers online banking services and has grown to become one of the largest neo-banks in Europe.
  • Civey: A Berlin-based startup that provides real-time public opinion data through its online survey platform.
  • Choco: A food industry startup that offers a digital ordering platform for restaurants and suppliers.
  • Klang Games: A video game development studio that is creating a massively multiplayer online game with a focus on social interaction.
  • Clue: A female health startup that offers a period and ovulation tracking app.

References
Axel Springer Plug and Play
Leadership team

Jens Lapinski (Founder)

Julian Deutz (Founder)

Ulrich Schmitz (Founder)

Saeed Amidi (Founder)

Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
Berlin, Germany
Established
2013
Social Media