/ News / Shutdown of the Telegraaf Media Group incubator TMG Startups

Shutdown of the Telegraaf Media Group incubator TMG Startups

Telegraaf Media Group (TMG) pulls the plug from its incubator program. After the latest announcements of corporates like Eneco, KPN, Cofely and many others about their increasing commitment of working closely together with startups and the startup community, today TMG announced the shutdown of its incubator.

Back in April of 2014 TMG announced the opening of the Telegraaf Media Group incubator in Amsterdam where it would be supporting the next generation of media startups. Axel Kenninck, one of the founders of the initiative, set the ambitious goal of supporting eight startups by the end of the year.

TMG provided its residents with an office space, coaching and various levels of support ranging from legal, finance, marketing/PR and HR. TMG was committed to provide support to its portfolio companies up to two years. In return, TMG would get equity in these companies.

What happened?

Today, CXO.nl reported that TMG pulls the plug from its incubator programme after just one year. According to TMG’s management team there is no fit between the companies future strategy and the incubator. TMG wants to focus on the more profitable parts of the company: radio, newspapers and their subbrands. Only the internet activities related to TMG’s main brands can remain.

Geert-Jan van der Snoek, CEO since July 2014, announced in December that the corporation had to economize drastically, making the future of the incubator programme unclear. ‘Head of Business Development’ Bart Brouwers, the other founder of the programme besides Kenninck, had to leave the same month. Since then, activities within the incubator have been scarce.

First startup class

Since its foundation, three startups have participated in the incubator programme: crowdfundingsite for parties Partyclap, music curation service Kollekt.fm and platform for social travelling Polarsteps. Partyclap’s CEO Daniël Kroon says he regrets that the incubator will stop.

Kroon thinks one of the weak points of the incubator was the lack of commitment of the higher management. “We would end our first term at TMG Startups with a pitch in the presence of a board member, division managers and TMG Startups itself. The board member didn’t show up and two other managers were late.”

Kroon also noticed that people fell into two camps:  the digital brands and the Telegraaf editorial staffs. “We were supported by the online brands, however, the editorial staffs didn’t seem to value us highly. The editors made fun of us by saying that we were lounging around.”

Learn from failure?

From an outsiders perspective we can see TMG made some mistakes, and there was no full commitment from the management team. Perhaps they could take this opportunity to invite all other corporate incubator programs for a session about failure to make sure the same mistakes will not be made twice.

Image credits: Mount Rainier National Park

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  1. Pim de Bokx says:

    Great Idea! We’re happy to host a meeting for TMG and other corporate incubators to gather ‘lessons learned’. There must be lots of lessons around, also with more experienced corporates in this field like ServicesValley from Océ or Philips.

  2. No commitment, no success. It sounds like ‘birds in a golden cage’…read the article of Claire Boonstra about this subject (http://www.thedutchsiliconvalley.com/nl/2015/07/07/ontketen-het-potentieel-van-mensen/)

  3. Bas says:

    Wow, typical TMG behaviour: dinosaurs not seeing the value of that thing called the Internet, waiting to be extinct. Good luck printing your piece of paper.

  4. Good remarks in your last paragraph. If I can help in any way, just give me a call.

  5. I’d like to add that kollekt.fm did not entirely participate in the programme. We were present in the building (and are very thankful that Axel hosted us the way he did!) but we ultimately didn’t come to terms regarding a capital injection from TMG in our company. Other than that I have nothing to add, it’s a real pity things have gone south so quickly. This is in a way intrapreneurialism, and Eric Ries rightfully states that if you want to be an intrapreneur you need full official backing of the company because otherwise your project gets torn apart over time.

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