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Media Startup Fellowship

Launch your media startup with us!

No matter if you are still in the midst of the idea phase or if you have already passed into the early stage of prototyping and developing an MVP: We will support your startup with high-quality coaching and with a funding pool of up to € 50.000 in order for you to develop innovative digital media products.

The application phase for our Media Startup Fellowship is closed. But set your application reminder now. We will inform you as soon as the application phase reopens.

9 months to bring your startup to the NEXT LEVEL



10.000 € Payout

The first phase of the fellowship is about future-proofing your startup through structured testing & strategic decisions.

  • Vision & Validation
  • Finance
  • Pitch


10.000 € Payout

We support you in setting up structures in the areas of marketing, sales, network development and company organization.

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Venture Design


20.000 € Payout

Now is the time! In the final phase, we are focussing on your future financial stability and growth beyond the program.

  • Fundraising
  • Finance
  • Pitch

Timeline of the Fellowship

  • Application Deadline

    Until February 4, 2024 (11:59pm)

    Until the given deadline, you have time to complete and send your application. In the meantime, feel free to get acquainted with the program. You may already know some of the startups that had been part of the Fellowship.

  • Trial Run

    March 4, 2024 until March 6, 2024

    The Trial Run is a three-day workshop that will take place on site. During the workshop, you will have the chance to get to know us, experience first coachings as well as challenges and network with further media startups. We, on the other hand, will be able to get a first-hand impression of your work methods. On the third day, an external jury will help us decide which teams will proceed with the fellowship.

  • Phase I

    April 11, 2024 until July 19, 2024
    Payout 10.000 €

    During the first two weeks for the program, you can expect an intensive workshop phase. As a founder, please dedicate some extra time for this phase. Throughout the fellowship, a resident coach and expert coaches will support and guide you on your journey.

  • Phase II

    July 20, 2024 until October 11, 2024
    Payout 10.000 €

    At our Pitch day during the end of the first phase, you have successfully qualified for the next step. That means that you and your common fellows will enter the Sales Phase of the program. The regular coachings will continue and intensify.

  • Phase III

    October 12, 2024 until December 13, 2024
    Payout 20.000 €

    As in the previous phase, you will once again hold your ground on Pitch Day in order to continue to Phase III. Depending on your individual situation, the commenced coachings will either be continued or be tailored to your needs. The program ends with a Demo Day.

We put the interests of startups first.

  • No equity? No problem.
    Our fellowship startups benefit from our government funding pool.
  • We won’t claim any share of your startup.
    Really? Really! Zero percent.
  • You are our Rockstars!
    We make your challenges our priority and will provide not only financial but also strategic support.
  • Use our free co-working space!
    We offer a modern office and the possibility to exchange ideas with other founders.
  • Let’s network!
    Make use of our vast network and meet the media professionals that will accelerate your startup the most
  • Community Love ❤
    Once a Media Lab family member, always a Media Lab family member - as a fellow, you are now part of our fantastic community.


Everything you need to be part of the Media Startup Fellowship

Your Startup ought to revolutionize the media industry

And to emphasize the importance of it: We really do mean media industry. We’re not talking about the sectors of, say, finance or agriculture. In a nutshell: We are talking about every digital solution or technology that will help media companies, journalists or publishers. This includes:

  • Content
  • Software & Workflows
  • Bots & AI
  • AdTech
  • AR & VR & 360°
  • Payment
  • Data & Analytics
  • Personalization
  • Data Driven Publishing
  • Film(tech)

We are looking for teams that are serious about founding. Your company doesn't have to be officially founded yet, but you should be able to prove to us that you can actually build a product, by having a working prototype at hand already.

We're not looking for the next random blog on any topic - unless you have plans to scale up to a digital publisher. We support plans that innovate with new technology and do something completely different with digital media.

This year our program will take place remotely again. However, some of the dates (pitch days, coachings, workshops, ...) might take place on site during the 9-months program. We will announce the dates in advance and we would be happy to welcome you at our Media Lab office in Munich.

In any case, you should be prepared for the Trial Run to take place in person. This 3-day workshop determines who will be accepted into the Media Startup Fellowship program. The program itself then starts in spring with the Startup School.

Our unicorn mentor Linette will help you with any questions you may have about the Fellowship.

Make an appointment directly and clarify your questions, or send an email to Linette!

Do you have a question?

FAQ - Questions that keep coming up

How do you define "media startup"?

The goal of a media startup is to provide a service for journalists, publishers and other media companies. This can be done via the creation of own content or via technical solutions that support the content of others. Whether platforms, SaaS models, or a special interest content startup, as long as your solution can be applied by media companies, you are right with us.


  • Messaging & Bots
  • AI, Algorithms, Machine Learning
  • Data- und Robot Journalism
  • Payment, Paid Content, New Business Models
  • Distributed & Social Media
  • Personalized & Atomized Content
  • Audio & Podcasting
  • 360°-Video, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality
  • Mobile Storytelling & Reporting
  • Media Ad Tech, Native Advertising
  • Influencer, Marketing, PR
  • Tech-Startups

CMS & Services

  • Tools for Newsrooms
  • Ad Tech
  • Platforms
  • B2C Products, Apps
  • Film(tech)


  • Formats for New Technologies (Bots, Algorithms, etc.)
  • Platform Formats (Messenger, Live, Snapchat)
  • Innovative Advertising Formats
  • Media Brands for Special Interest Topics

How far along does the idea have to be?

If you haven't validated your idea yet (= a hundred people asked if they want your product and you received a YES!) then it's more like an Idea Sprint, Workshop or one of our other programs for you. But if you already have enough feedback from potential users, then apply for the Fellowship! Our coaches will help you with your business plan, design and prototyping.

Do I already have to have all team members fixed?

Your team should work for the product. If you build a software, you should have coder on board. If you are working on content and formats, you should have a storyteller on board. During the six months you'll be working on prototyping, so you'll have to be able to implement the input. If there's still too much missing, join one of our other programs!

How much time do I have to spend?

The Media Startup Fellowship is a full-time program. You work 9 months on the product and get a prototyping budget for it. Once a week there is a set coaching session, in between there are mentor meetings and theme workshops and you will present your projects at evening events and conferences among the Media Lab community. You can only do that if you are fully committed. If a part of the team is only working part time, commitment is still possible - as long as you are able to make decisions on a daily basis and can be present at all meetings, you will be a fit for our program.

Are we going to get funding from you?

Each team receives up to 40,000 Euros in prototyping budget. We trust you will make the right decision when considering whether to spend the money on caviar, a trip to New York, or programming individual features.

Are you taking any stakes in our startup?

"What? Really?"
No. Really not. Cool, right? Come to us!

Can international teams apply?

They can, but they need to have a business case in the German-speaking region. We are located in Munich and most of our network is from here. The focus of the program is to get startups started in the GSA-media market.

So if you are located somewhere else and you are targeting users and customers outside of the region, the Media Startup Fellowship is not the right fit for you.

Can I participate if I want to use a technology to develop a business case in the media industry?

Yes, absolutely!

Do you also fund film projects?

We support startups that provide technologies, digital tools and approaches that advance the film industry. This includes innovative digital products of any kind that make working in film easier. The Media Startup Fellowship is not a film grant, so direct funding of films is excluded.

Can I apply without revealing my idea?

No, you can't :)