“Innovate or die”. This motto captures well the big dilemma that media industry faces nowadays. How can publisher and media houses embrace digitalization and establish a new profitable sustainable model?

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When it comes to finding innovative solutions, startups might have one or two ideas of how to be creative and move the media industry forward. 😉Tobias Seikel knows that well: he has been on both sides, having worked many years with publishing at G+J and now supporting startups and entrepreneurs at Hanse Ventures. In this interview, he shares his thoughts on how media and startups can work together in times where innovation is a matter of survival.
Who is Sandra Fischer- (1)

What are the main lessons you learned from working at a publishing house (G+J)? And how do you apply those lessons in your current work at Hanse Ventures?  

I worked with G+J for nearly ten years and am grateful for the various chances and experiences I got. I started as a trainee, then became the Executive Assistant to the International Board Member, moved to Croatia to build up the Eastern European business for G+J as a Publishing Director and Deputy CEO before moving back to Germany to work as the Publishing Director of the magazines “stern” and “art”. Those different stations reflect different challenges, ranging from pure learning to very hands-on tasks as well as to mostly management jobs.

For myself I discovered the hands-on approach as being my favorite. I prefer smaller structures for fast decision taking besides of being my own boss regarding the things I want to focus on and proceed with. At Hanse Ventures, on the contrary to the magazine publishing business, we are working in a very dynamic, digital surrounding, making every day different from the next. At the same time we ourselves are able to structure and shape our work environment as well as the things we are producing – all of this makes my work and job very appealing to me.

Can you tell us a bit about your work with startups at Hanse Ventures? What kind of support you give them and help them most?

Hanse Ventures is the company builder in Hamburg. We develop our own internet and mobile business concepts and implement these together with suitable founder teams. In this instance, we see ourselves as an institutional co-founder, providing the necessary infrastructure that a young company requires for its first steps to success. We support our start-up teams in all areas with our expertise – be it for instance in terms of Design, Code, Online Marketing, Business Intelligence, Human Resources, financing assistance, our powerful network or office space. The benefit for our founders is obvious: they can fully and entirely focus on their business and enjoy further support by our management team including pitch training, sparring in strategic questions as well as advice regarding investor relations.

We see ourselves as an institutional co-founder, providing the necessary infrastructure that a young company requires for its first steps to success.

Besides, we set up our own trainee program, offering entrepreneurial spirits insights and hands-on work experience in our startups in order to find out whether founding a company together with a professional partner like Hanse Ventures could be an option.

Why do you think big publishers should invest in media startups? Any tips for our startups on how to approach big media houses when presenting their innovative product?

My feeling is that we are witnessing a growing number of young talents aiming for different job entries compared to what we saw some 15 years ago. Pure print publishing houses are not anymore one of their first addresses to turn to, rather new and digital media companies grew in attractivity. Publishers producing unique and attractive content will always play an important role in a democratic society and will therefore attract bright and intellectual minds.

Nevertheless, it is essential for their success that they find ways how to offer their content to their necessary target groups. It will not be sufficient to do this with a print-only approach. Also being reluctant to embrace digitalisation will not help. Thus I believe that publishers have to move forward by closely working together with or – even better – investing in media startups in order to gather experience and know how. Last but not least, they will in this way also remain attractive employers for all digital natives.

Publishers have to move forward by closely working together with or – even better – investing in media startups

Startups on the other hand should not be shy to approach big media companies. They should be prepared and informed whom to talk to and what to present in order to make potential partners being interested in their offered services and products. Nevertheless, there is no reason for being hesitant as it is them who are needed to move the whole industry forward. Be curious, open minded and interested!

Big thank you, Tobias, for inspiring our teams to keep up the hard work transforming the media! 🚀🚀🚀