Axel Springer Plug and Play today announced the expansion of its accelerator program. The number of program cycles will be increased from two to three per year in the future. This will make it possible to promote up to 30 startups per year. In addition, a fund is being established for follow-up financing for the participating startups. The next Axel Springer Plug and Play program cycle is set to begin late March 2014 already. It’s still possible to apply for this until February 14.
The Berlin-based accelerator promoted a total of 16 startups in two passes during the first year of its existence. A full 80 percent of the companies received outside follow-up financing in the first program cycle. The participants in the second pass, which finished with the Demo Day on January 17, 2014, are already in negotiations for follow-up financing.
The program includes € 25,000 of seed financing in return for 5% equity. It also offers the benefits of extensive mentoring, workshops, and access to the international network of Axel Springer and Plug and Play. All startups spend three months working in an office in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, which is also used by artists as a temporary studio. The startups and artists are intended to inspire each other. In return for promotion, participating companies give five percent of their company shares to the accelerator.
Jens Müffelmann, head of Electronic Media at Axel Springer SE: “The development of our accelerator and the realized investments in the first year are significantly above our expectations. With the fonds we ignite the next phase of consistently promoting digital enterprises, together with strong partners. It also gives us the opportunity to participate to an even greater extent in the enormous value growth.”