Next Media Accelerator: “Our Strongest Point Lies In Our Network”

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Sabela Garcia, program manager at Hamburg based Next Media Accelerator, on how they help startups transform the industry and what they ask for in return. Learn more here:

Describe Next Media Accelerator in 50 or less words.

We are the premier hub for media innovation in Europe.

What is your role at Next Media Accelerator and how did you get involved?

I’m the program manager and take care of the whole pre and post acceleration process which includes different activities such as looking for startups to apply to our program or to help them finding a final investor. Everything what happens here during the six months of acceleration is under my supervision and organization. To my luck I can count on my very well-connected colleagues!

What’s the scope of the accelerator?

To help media related startups to grow fast and close a financial round after the six months with us with a bigger investor. We connect them to potential customers & collaborators too.

Which technologies, industries or regions do you focus on?

Our investors and network come from the publishing industry and for this reason we are looking for startups providing solutions and bringing innovation to these specific areas of media. Startups applying to our program should be related somehow to information, content and advertising, have a technological ground and be scalable, we also call them “CATS”.

We are open to all European and Israeli startups willing to come to Hamburg and spend six months with us in our office in the co-working space Betahaus.

Tell us a bit about your programs – what can startups expect and what do you ask for in return?

We offer a six months long program for all our startups. It is mandatory that they spend this time in Hamburg working together with us in our office to profit from our network, mentoring sessions and to improve the communication. The selected startups can choose from three different programs, with the only difference being the amount of money they take from us (50k, 25k or no money at all with shares of 10%, 5% or 3%). In return they are provided with workshops, mentorship, the introduction into Hamburg’s media and startup scene, a great platform to get launched and a co-working space.

Why should a startup apply at Next Media Accelerator?

You should only apply if you need what we can offer to you. This can be tricky. Our strongest point lies in our network so if you need contact to media houses and the media field in Germany ingeneral you are in the right place.

What do you think makes a startup successful? Which of the mentioned qualities are usually missing?

A successful startup needs something really important which many times is undervalued: the team. A great team will come a long way. Another great point is technology. Of course, if the startup offers something others can’t do in technological terms, it is already a win. Last but not least is timing. Some startups might offer something extremely cool but they are just too early (or too late) for that and the society is not prepared for acepting it.

With the insane growth of accelerators joining the ecosystem in Europe – how do you make sure you stand out?

There is a high competition, that’s true – but let’s be honest: how many accelerate only media startups and have such a great connection to the whole media & publishing ecosystem in Germany? Just our accelerator 🙂

Which successful startups went through your program already?

One of our startups from batch one got funds from Google’s Digital News initiative and took part in the Facebook F8 conference last month. Another one just closed a very favorable financial round. Some of the results of the acceleration process are still to come.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

As I said we are quite new in what we do and we like to see ourselves as a startup too. We made mistakes with our first batch, that I will try not to make in our second one. As always it is about learning and applying. We also have some students who help us a couple of hours per week- just not to lose track 😉

If you had the chance to accept one particular startup right away, which one would it be?

We are very interested in the potential of Virtual Reality and 360 videos. Any startups taking this into the media and publishing field is very interesting for us. The problem is that there are many good ideas but not the right business models. It is hard to find media related startups that do what we are looking for. Though, we believe this will change!

If there is one thing you can wish for improving the European startup ecosystem, what would it be?

Mobility. It should be easier for a startup to move to another country or to get started from zero somewhere else. There are tons of information missing and we need to strengthen this network!

What advice would you give entrepreneurs for their startup?

Get the right connections that can help you in the long run. If you have a great idea but cannot reach the decision makers it will take too long to make it happen and someone else will do it in the meantime. Fight to get the right network and go for it!

next media accelerator

The team of Hamburg’s Next Media Accelerator


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