German media giant ProSiebenSat.1 has revealed more details about its new incubator in Berlin. Called Epic Companies, it will be led by 33-year-old ex-Rocket Internet manager Mato Peric and will have an initial focus on e-commerce in European markets.
The goal is for five startups a year to pass through the incubator, with ProSiebenSat.1 promising “substantial seed financing, strong media reach via TV advertising and extensive entrepreneurial expertise.”
Peric will bring with him a great deal of knowledge from his time in charge of global e-commerce at Rocket, during which he helped build up two Zalando clones – Zalora in southeast Asia and Jabong in India. He will also be charged with strengthening the overall Internet and venture expertise within the ProSiebenSat.1 group as CEO of the new ‘digital and adjacent’ section.
Joining him on the Epic Companies management team will be fellow ex-Rocket managers Uli Erxleben and Janosch Novak, along with Adrian Frenzel, formerly of McKinsey.
ProSiebenSat.1 is joining a growing list of major German companies desperate to become more involved in the startup scene. Fellow media giant Axel Springer has been one of the most active, acquiring second screen platform TunedIn earlier this month after snapping up 49 percent of events company hy! Berlin.
ProSieben has some form, however, with Epic Companies emerging from its SevenVentures media-for-equity and media-for-revenue investment platform SevenVentures. It hosted a pitch competition at the NOAH conference in London last year with a total of €7 million worth of media up for grabs. It was won by busuu, with wynsh and Berlin startup Capsule.fm in second and third.
Dr Chrisian Wegner from ProSiebenSat.1 said with Epic Companies, they had added a key element: “In addition to minority interests through media-for-revenue or media-for-equity investments and strategic majority stakes, we now also participate early on and directly in the value creation of winning internet businesses.”
Epic Companies will be part of a growing incubator/accelerator scene in Berlin which is helping to encourage entrepreneurs and early-stage startups to the city as the look for a leg up. Most recently, Salonmeister, an online booking tool for hair and beauty appointments, became the third entrant into the hub:raum incubator, part of Deutsche Telekom’s efforts to reach out to the startup scene.