The Mondadori Group’s central role in the AI Revolution

PLAI has just been launched, the Mondadori Group's accelerator dedicated to start-ups in the field of Generative Artificial Intelligence

The Mondadori Group has launched PLAI, the start-up accelerator designed to transform ideas, based on exploiting artificial intelligence, into successful entrepreneurial initiatives. PLAI will offer them a distinctive field of application and an industrial outlet both at the publishing house and with the initiative’s partners.

With PLAI, the Mondadori Group defines the following goals:

  • set up a technology hub to identify highly innovative initiatives in its business sectors publishing, education, retail, media and advertising;
  • acquire a central role in the artificial intelligence revolution, becoming the core of a national and international community of innovators;
  • create industrial value and competitive advantage through targeted investments in AI start-ups.

“Artificial intelligence is rapidly transforming many markets. In a scenario in which generative AI makes content creation and processing a feasible prospect by revolutionising the way any activity is carried out, we want to give a strong impetus in terms of knowledge and informed use of AI in all our business areas,” says Antonio Porro, CEO of the Mondadori Group. As a leading media publisher, we want to play a central role in the Gen AI ecosystem to lead the industry as a trendsetter, attract talent and offer our customers new products and services. PLAI, our accelerator, was conceived with this goal in mind,” concludes Porro.

PLAI will operate in the pre-seed and seed phases by selecting, for each annual acceleration cycle, 10 Italian and international start-ups that will be supported with an initial investment of EUR 100,000 each, in exchange for a minority share. The Mondadori Group’s overall financial commitment is approximately EUR 6 million, to be invested over the three-year period 2024-2026.

In addition to capital, the accelerator will provide start-ups with concrete AI application areas, structured training and mentorship courses, besides the opportunity to participate in networking events. This will also be achieved with the unique set of skills and assets of relevant Italian and international partners, who have decided to join the Mondadori Group’s initiative, precisely, Startupbootcamp, I3P, Amazon AWS, PwC Italy, Multiversity, GroupM, Codemotion and Datapizza.

Core Operational Allies

  • Startupbootcamp, Europe’s first start-up accelerator and a leading global network, will support the PLAI team during every stage of the project, contributing significantly in terms of international scouting, and providing its network of experts and mentors. PLAI and Startupbootcamp teams will cooperate intensively, sharing the same workplace. This partnership is an important part of Startupbootcamp’s vision to accelerate 100,000 technologies featuring a positive impact on the planet and society by 2030.
  • I3P, the incubator of Politecnico di Torino, which supports the creation and development of innovative, technology-intensive start-ups, will support PLAI at all stages of the acceleration process, especially by enriching its training offer with more than 10 dedicated workshops.

Strategic collaboration HUB

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) will offer start-ups credits for using the AWS cloud featuring over 200 services, including those dedicated to Machine Learning and Generative Artificial Intelligence, as well as access to AWS’ team of AI experts.
  • Multiversity, a leader in the world of education and a pioneer in generative AI applied to digital education, will provide its academic expertise in the technology transfer process, thus creating an ideal ecosystem for the success of start-ups in this field.
  • GroupM will provide innovation and expertise in marketing, media and digital technology to bring start-ups closer to customers’ actual business environments.
  • PwC Italia will support the PLAI team by providing its expertise acquired in the publishing and media market, and in innovation management processes, by contributing to scouting and training phases for start-ups, and by assisting the PLAI team as strategic advisor.

Communication & Networking

  • Codemotion will involve network experts and support the PLAI community’s creation to enhance the programme by fostering meetings with its community of more than 250,000 developers through dedicated events and contests, and participation in the annual conference, a landmark for developers in Italy.
  • Datapizza will support the PLAI community’s growth by creating synergies with Gen AI experts, and by reporting on the initiative on the Italian Media Tech, which counts 15 million organic impressions each month.


PLAI‘s DNA is enclosed in the name, a pun that turns play into PLAI, with the addition of the AI factor. It symbolises a dynamic environment, a genuine playground for start-ups that are set and ready to explore and revolutionise the field of generative AI. The PLAl-Ground, a physical meeting and working place at the WAO PL7 space in via Lambertenghi 8, Milan, designed to stimulate creativity and discussions, and to accelerate the implementation of ambitious projects, will be placed at the disposal of start-ups.

Next steps

As of today, start-ups may apply to be examined and selected to access the acceleration programme promoted by PLAI. The selection phase for the 10 start-ups in the first cycle will end with the selection day in mid-September, while the four-month acceleration period will start in October. During this phase, each start-up will benefit from more than 50 hours of dedicated workshops conducted by Italian and international experts, and 20 hours of tailored mentorship. They will have the opportunity to apply their idea both within the Mondadori Group and at PLAI’s partners. In January, a Demo Day will be organised to introduce the start-ups to the market. They will make themselves known to investors and companies, and thus initiate a further important stage of development.

PLAI’s Chairman will be Antonio Porro, Chief Executive Officer of the Mondadori Group, while the CEO will be Stefano Argiolas, Chief AI Officer of the Mondadori Group and founder of Hej!,the start-up acquired by the Mondadori Group in 2021. It offers AI-driven performance marketing solutions.

Moreover, the PLAI team’s strategic decisions will be supported by an Advisory Board comprising a group of established professionals, academics and managers with wide-ranging expertise in AI and business development. They are determined to highlight and push the most promising start-ups to new heights. Advisory Board members are listed below: Alessandra Antonelli, Paola Bonomo, Marco Bressani, Luciano Catoni, Paola Colombo, Guido Di Fraia, Matteo Flora, Luca La Mesa, Marco Magnaghi, Paolo Merialdo, Paola Mogliotti, Giangiacomo Olivi, Giulio Ranucci, Alceo Rapagna, Maurizio Romandini, Chiara Russo, Massimo Sideri and Franco Spicciariello.

Are you ready to PLAI?