Magazine Publisher Bonnier Creates Accelerator Program for Media Startups

Four Startups to Receive Seed Funding, Services and Consultation in 14-Week Program

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Bonnier Corp., the publisher of magazines including Field & Stream and Popular Science, is beginning an effort to identify promising early-stage startups in the media space and accelerate their development.

David Rich, director of the Bonnier Innovation Lab
David Rich, director of the Bonnier Innovation Lab

The accelerator, called Bonnier Innovation Lab, is asking for applications from companies trying to change the way content is created, distributed or consumed. It will select four to receive at least $25,000 in seed funding as well as services and support in areas such as public relations, e-commerce, web hosting and human relations. The four startups will also participate in a 14-week program at Bonnier's Boulder, Colo., office to go over topics such as content strategy, audience development, search engine optimization, social media, product development cycles and investor relations.

"Our goal is to look at disrupting the way we create, distribute and consume content," said David Rich, director of the Bonnier Innovation Lab.

"Some of the companies that we accept are going to have nothing more than a business plan and a pitch," he added. "The point of this program is less about the funding. The real benefit to this program is we're trying to help you take a process that for some companies that might take three years and shorten that ."

"It's something that we haven't seen a lot from major media companies," Mr. Rich added.

Other magazine publishers are seeking or encouraging digital innovation in various ways, hosting showcases for startups, maintaining units to incubate ideas internally and buying or investing in various digital enterprises. But Bonnier's accelerator program might help it better identify and integrate startups early.

Outside of print, Time Warner 's Turner Broadcasting unit recently created an accelerator program called Media Camp. Its Media Camp Academy offers participants up to $20,000 in funding.

Mr. Rich joined Bonnier in March after several years at a startup of his own, Off the Quad, which sent college students daily emails about events, entertainment, lifestyle and deals.

The program is consulting with the Global Accelerator Network on areas such as best practices.

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