Axel Springer Digital Ventures has increased its share in the New York social video news publisher NowThis Media as part of a financing round and has become its second largest investor. The New York-based start-up primarily addresses the target group of 18- to 34-year-olds, producing short videos about trending stories, designed for mobile devices and distribution across social networks. The new round of financing was led by Axel Springer Digital Ventures. NowThis Media has received a total of 16 million US dollars from investors in this round.
Jens Müffelmann, CEO Axel Springer Digital Ventures and President USA of Axel Springer from 1st of January 2016, explains: “We are increasing our share in a promising journalistic start-up that is focusing on the attractive future market of mobile and social video consumption. The company has already built up an impressive reach of more than 650 million video views per month and has been able to record its first successes with advertising customers. Our BILD and WELT brands are also benefiting from our participation and the mutual exchange of know-how and experience.”
BILD and WELT have been cooperating with NowThis Media for several months and are distributing videos from the start-up in Germany. Axel Springer would like to promote cross-company networking projects such as this even more in future: For this reason the “Axel Springer Global Network” was founded in mid-November 2015. Its aims are improved cooperation, a closer exchange of ideas, and cross-brand learning by editorial offices as well as all business divisions within the group of companies.
NowThis Media has developed a new type of technology which identifies trending topics on social networks and allows editors to quickly produce and publish high quality videos. The start-up produces around 60 videos every day for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, Kik, WeChat and YouTube. It was founded 2012 by Huffington Post co-founder and Buzzfeed Chairman Kenneth Lerer, and former CEO of the Huffington Post, Eric Hippeau.
Axel Springer Digital Ventures first acquired a stake in NowThis Media in December 2014. Oak Investment Partners remains the largest investor after the new round of financing. Other investors include: Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Bedrocket Media Ventures, NBC and SoftBank Capital.
Axel Springer is one of the world’s largest digital publishers in terms of reach. With headquarters in Berlin, the company is active in more than 40 countries with subsidiaries, joint ventures and licenses. Axel Springer increasingly wants to grow with digital journalistic offerings in English-language geographies. Over the last several years, the company has gradually built up a diverse portfolio of U.S. investments and has maintained an office in Silicon Valley since 2014.
Axel Springer has acquired Business Insider and a minority stake in thrillist.com in October 2015. Since March 2014, Axel Springer has been the biggest investor in OZY.com, an online magazine for news and culture. Since February 2015, the digital publisher Livingly Media has been fully owned by aufeminin.com, the world's leading women's portal, in which Axel Springer holds a majority interest. Axel Springer is also invested in digital investment funds Lerer Hippeau Ventures and SV Angel since June 2014. Axel Springer also has a majority holding in the shopping platform Retale, which has been active in the U.S. market since 2013 through the Bonial.com Group. Moreover, Axel Springer holds stakes in the news platform Mic.com (since June 2015), the virtual-reality startup Jaunt (since September 2015), the social-video-news media company NowThis Media (since December 2014) and the media start-up A Plus (since March 2015). Axel Springer also holds minority interests in the community accommodations marketplace Airbnb (since February 2012), in the photo community Pixlee (since February 2013) and the save-for-later App Pocket (since April 2015). Since April 2015, the company, together with POLITICO U.S., has been responsible for the European edition of POLITICO in Brussels.