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Sky ups startup focus with Berlin and Tel Aviv investments

Sky plans to open a new office in Berlin and invest US$4 million in an Israeli VC fund in an effort to scale up its startup investments across Central and Northern Europe and Israel.

The Berlin office will give Sky a local presence among the city’s growing startup scene and allow it to build relationships with investors and entrepreneurs in the region.

Sky’s Berlin team will have a remit to scout for companies across Germany and the Nordics, extending the company’s existing London and San Francisco-based startup efforts.

In Israel, Sky will invest in newly launched Tel Aviv-based venture capital fund Remagine Ventures, which will focus specifically on technology, entertainment, data and commerce startups.

The fund is managed by former ProSiebenSat1.Media investor Kevin Baxpehler and former Partner at Google Ventures Europe, Eze Vidra.

Sky said the partnership will give it more access to the county’s technology market, which includes a strong pool of talent in computer vision and machine learning.

“Six years on from our first investment, we’re expanding our startup activity across Europe and Israel,” said Emma Lloyd, group director of business development and partnerships at Sky.

“Spending time in both Berlin and Tel Aviv has left us hugely impressed with the energy, dynamism and talent of both tech scenes. This is an exciting new chapter for us and we can’t wait to get started and uncover new, innovative startups across the regions and beyond.”

Sky Deutschland CEO Carsten Schmidt added: “I look forward to us establishing more partnerships with early stage companies by setting up our Berlin based office this year.”

Sky established its London startup-focused team in 2012 and opened its San Francisco office in 2014. Since then has invested in more than 20 companies across the UK, US and France.

So far it has invested in companies including: Roku, which powers its Now TV streaming device; virtual reality firm Jaunt; over-the-top streaming platform 1Mainstream; and Drone Racing League.

Sky says it invests in companies to accelerate innovation, identify growth and achieve cost efficiencies through the adoption of new operating models.