Established in 2006, with over $180 million under management, BDMI makes early stage investments into innovative companies in the digital media landscape.
Drawing upon the global media reach of parent company Bertelsmann, BDMI is a financially-driven corporate venture investor that brings a wealth of experience and opportunities to emerging companies. BDMI provides not only capital, but also brings access to a worldwide collection of diverse businesses within Bertelsmann and via our broader network of media industry connections. Our goal is to partner with companies that can benefit from our media expertise and global perspective.
BDMI invests out of two funds: a seed fund and a traditional early stage fund. For the seed fund, we typically prefer to see a product or service that is live in the marketplace with some initial data points that demonstrate early signs of product-market fit. We don’t usually lead seed stage investments, but prefer to join a syndicate with a lead already in place.
In BDMI’s main fund, we typically pursue Series A and Series B rounds with an initial investment of $500k to $5m plus reserves for follow-ons. We are comfortable leading an investment, co-leading or joining a syndicate with other strategic or financial investors. Depending upon the size of our investment, we usually hold voting board seats or observer seats. We invest in companies based in North America, Europe and Israel.
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has 117,000 employees and generated revenues of €17.7 billion in the 2018 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world.
RTL Group is a leader across broadcast, content and digital, with interests in 60 television channels, eight video-on-demand platforms, 30 radio stations, content production throughout the world and rapidly growing digital video businesses. The television portfolio of RTL Group includes RTL Television in Germany; M6 in France; the RTL channels in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia and Hungary; and Antena 3 in Spain. The Group’s flagship radio station is RTL in France, and it also owns or has interests in other stations in France, Germany, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg. RTL Group’s content production arm, Fremantle, is one of the world’s largest international creators, producers and distributors of scripted and unscripted content. Combining the on-demand services of its broadcasters, the multiplatform networks BroadbandTV, StyleHaul, Divimove, United Screens and Fremantle’s more than 300 YouTube channels, RTL Group has become the leading European media company in online video. RTL Group also owns the advanced video ad serving platform SpotX. Bertelsmann is the majority shareholder of RTL Group, holding 75 percent of its shares.
Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company employs more than 10,000 people globally. With nearly 275 independent imprints and brands on six continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print with primarily English- and Spanish-language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With 15,000 new titles, and around 600 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors. Bertelsmann owns 75 percent of shares in Penguin Random House; Pearson owns 25 percent.
The German-language Verlagsgruppe Random House in Munich, with 40 renowned publishers, is not part of Penguin Random House from a legal point of view, but is under the same corporate management and is part of the Penguin Random House division.
Gruner + Jahr is one of Europe’s leading premium magazine publishers. Its products include established brands such as “Stern,” “Geo,” “Brigitte,” “Essen & Trinken” and “Schöner Wohnen” – as well as younger brands like “Chefkoch,” “Barbara,” “Beef” and “11 Freunde.” In total, Gruner + Jahr publishes around 500 print and digital media products across more than 20 countries. It also markets products and licenses such as the “Schöner Wohnen” Collection. Gruner + Jahr’s activities focus primarily on Germany and France. In the latter, its French subsidiary Prisma Media boasts one of the widest audiences of any publishing company. Digital business makes up a quarter of sales, and is exhibiting continued strong growth. Indeed, the company’s digital products lead the rankings in all publishing segments, from news to people to living. G+J also operates international digital marketing platforms (e.g., AppLike). Territory, Germany’s largest communications agency for brand content, is a member of the G+J family. Other members include Europe’s leading special-interest publisher, Motor Presse Stuttgart (“Auto Motor und Sport”), and DDV Mediengruppe in Dresden (“Sächsische Zeitung”). G+J also holds a stake in Spiegel-Gruppe (“Spiegel,” “Manager Magazin”). Gruner + Jahr is wholly owned by Bertelsmann.
BMG – New Model Music Company for Songwriters and Artists in the Digital Age
BMG is the first new international music company of the streaming age, designed to help artists and songwriters best manage and market their music-related rights, from songs and recordings to videos and books. Creating competitive advantage with its core values of Fairness, Transparency and Service, BMG offers the traditionally separate music publishing and recording rights off the same state-of-the-art platform internationally. BMG’s 15 offices across 12 core music markets now represent over three million songs and recordings, including many of the most renowned and successful catalogs and artists in popular music history. BMG is wholly owned by Bertelsmann.
Arvato – One-Stop Everything
Arvato is an internationally active services company that develops and implements innovative solutions for business customers from around the world. These include SCM solutions, financial services and IT services, which are continuously developed with a focus on innovations in automation and data/analytics. Globally renowned companies from a wide variety of industries – from telecommunications providers and energy providers to banks and insurance companies, e-commerce, IT and Internet providers – rely on Arvato’s portfolio of solutions. Arvato is wholly owned by Bertelsmann. The services business also includes the Majorel group of companies, in which Bertelsmann owns 50 percent of shares.
Bertelsmann Printing Group – A Printing Powerhouse
The Bertelsmann Printing Group unites Bertelsmann’s printing activities. This includes the German offset printing companies Mohn Media, GGP Media and Vogel Druck, the Prinovis gravure printing operations in Germany and the United Kingdom, and the offset and digital printing plants Berryville Graphics, Coral Graphics and OPM in the United States. The Group combines a wide range of print and service offers. Campaign, DeutschlandCard and the Dialogue business are also part of Bertelsmann Printing Group. The Bertelsmann division also includes the advertising agency MBS, RTV Media Group and Sonopress. Bertelsmann Printing Group is wholly owned by Bertelsmann.
Bertelsmann Education Group – Shaping Learning in the 21st Century
The Bertelsmann Education Group encompasses Bertelsmann’s education businesses. The group is shaping professional learning in the 21st century with digital education and service offerings focused on the healthcare and technology sectors. It draws on Bertelsmann’s resources and global network. The Bertelsmann Education Group is wholly owned by Bertelsmann.
Bertelsmann Investments – International Investment Platforms
Bertelsmann Investments unites Bertelsmann’s start-up investments around the world. Its activities focus on the strategic growth regions Brazil, China, India and the United States. Shareholdings are acquired through the strategic investment funds Bertelsmann Brazil Investments (BBI), Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI), Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI). Bertelsmann owns stakes in more than 185 innovative companies via these funds.