U.S. venture capital firm Quake Capital is partnering with German telco giant Deutsche Telekom and Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland on a new technology accelerator program focused on 5G immersive entertainment.
Based in Cologne, Quake Europe will target seed-level investments in early stage consumer-focused 5G tech ventures in Europe.
Deutsche Telekom tech incubator Hubraum is serving as Quake Europe’s main partner. The startup accelerator’s other major sponsors include Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, German esports organization SK Gaming and global law firm DWF. NRW.Invest, the North Rhine-Westphalia economic development agency, is likewise supporting Quake Capital in its settlement in the state and assisting the venture as a contact to regional media and digital networks.
Quake Europe will focus on 5G immersive entertainment, as well as digital health and education applications. The company is headed by co-founder and global managing partner Priscilla Pesci, a former studio executive who has held posts at MGM, Fox, CBS and Lionsgate.
For RTL, Germany’s leading commercial broadcaster, the venture could lead to future content.
“Pioneering spirit is part of our DNA, so we are very excited to join forces to meet new startups with a fresh view on producing new types of video content,” said Julia Reuter, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s chief strategy and people and culture officer. “We’re looking forward to seeing what new opportunities for information and entertainment we can open up for our viewers, users and employees with the services designed specifically for 5G.”
Quake Europe will co-select up to 15 companies as part of its accelerator program. The selected startups will participate in the three-month program from April 15 to June 29.
Quake Capital plans to contribute discretionary investments of up to €100,000 ($108,408) per startup. Hubraum and RTL will also independently reserve the option to co-invest. Regional funder Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, which supports feature film and TV productions as well as the development of innovative audiovisual content, will also work with Quake Europe in offering further funding opportunities.
As part of the program, startups will receive coaching, personalized mentorships and free office space with access to Deutsche Telekom’s 5G network as well as access to Quake’s global network of investors and strategic partners.
“This partnership will help us make this next-gen technology tangible by putting new experiences quite literally into the hands of Deutsche Telekom’s customers,” said Hubraum managing director Axel Menneking.
The accelerator is also seen as a major win for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
“Twenty of the 50 highest grossing German companies are based in NRW, and accordingly, there is great potential here to integrate technological innovation into a dynamic economic ecosystem,” Pesci said. “With our partners, Quake Europe is uniquely positioned to fuel application development in 5G for media and entertainment and connect the opportunities in NRW to our Los Angeles program in the United States and the world.”
Andreas Pinkwart, North Rhine-Westphalia’s economics and digital affairs minister, described Quake Capital as “an excellent addition to our existing startup ecosystem, which will also broaden the scope of our initiatives in 5G. This partnership will build a bridge between Los Angeles and North Rhine-Westphalia and shall act as a blueprint for economic partnership through technology innovation.”