The Guardian is launching a £42 million venture capital fund to invest in startups

Katharine viner guardian editor in chiefRob Loud/Getty ImagesKatharine Viner, editor-in-chief of The Guardian, pictured in 2006.
  • The Guardian is launching a £42 million venture capital firm to invest in startups related to media-tech.
  • The British news outlet loses tens of millions of pounds every year.

LONDON — The Guardian is getting into the venture capital business.

The 196-year-old British newspaper is launching a £42 million ($US55 million) investment fund, it announced on Wednesday, with plans to invest in media-tech startups.

GMG Ventures, as the new unit will be called, will pour its pot of cash into “early stage businesses focused on developing the next generation of media technology” — in areas ranging from AI to advertising technology and payment tools.

Guardian Media Group (GMG), The Guardian’s parent company, loses tens of millions of pounds every year. In the last financial year it lost £45 million ($US59 million) — though it says it wants to break even within two years. GMG holds more than £1 billion ($US1.3 billion) in assets, the proceeds from which are used to fund The Guardian’s operations.

Some observers on Twitter poked fun of the news in light of The Guardian’s financial situation. “They weren’t losing money fast enough,” joked London entrepreneur Rodolfo Rosini. “What do you do when you can’t make money from publishing [The Guardian]? Become a venture capitalist apparently,” said another Twitter user.

In a statement, GMG (Guardian Media Group) chief exec David Pemsel said: “In a rapidly changing media landscape, GMG Ventures will be an essential addition to the experience, skills and qualities of the Guardian, giving us access to the new ideas and innovation that entrepreneurs bring to the table. GMG Ventures will aim to secure investments in some of the very best new businesses emerging out of the media and tech space in the UK, US and Continental Europe.”

The Guardian has previously invested in Founders Factory, a startup incubator. This investment will also be managed by GMG Ventures.

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