German trade publication W&V is reporting that Holtzbrinck, one of Germany and Europe’s leading publishing groups, is shutting down their incubator “Holtzbrinck eLab”, launched in 2006.
Holtzbrinck is famous for backing some of the most successful German Internet startups and also for acquiring not so successful companies. Most notably, StudiVZ, the early Facebook clone, which it purchased for roughly €100m, and although generating significant revenue it looks like Facebook is ultimately the winner in Germany too.
The incubator was intended to develop next generation business models for both web and mobile. With various well-running businesses the endeavor can probably to be called a successful one, so it’s perhaps a little odd that eLab is being shuttered. While StudiVZ has clearly been a misleading acquisition, other properties among their 70 investments, such as Zalando, are performing well.
Moving forward, Holtzbrinck is bundling their online activities under the brand “Holtzbrinck Digital“. The newly created outpost of their digital assets now combines various different strategic approaches – ranging from their establishes venture arm to a unified marketing branch called “the performance network”.
The reasons for shutting down eLab aren’t entirely clear. Markus Schunk, Holtzbrinck’s Digital CFO, states that “while focusing on our core activities at Holtzbrinck Digital within the last months we’ll shift our focus away from our 100%-owned companies eLab and Networks.”