In January 1997 Icon Publishing was founded as a joint venture with media entrepreneurs Erik Hörnfeldt and Mattias Hansson. It was conceived as a print publishing house with a focus on Internet-related information on paper. Later the same year, in June, Sweden’s leading publishing house Bonnier bought a majority stake in the company that became Bonnier Icon Publishing.
In January, Icon Content launched TheAlps, Europe’s leading portal site for skiing information.
In April, Gonzalo de la Cierva, former VP for sales and marketing at Telecinco, Spain, becomes MD of Icon Medialab Madrid.
In May, ChannelSeven and DoubleClick votes Icon Medialab one of the world’s top 100 Internet companies, the Icon Medialab Group breaks the 100-employee barrier, and Icon Publishing produces its first TV show for Swedish TV5.
In August 1997 Franco Fedeli joins the parent company Icon Medialab International as CEO, and the Swedish Medialab as MD. He is an IBM veteran and was recruited from Tele2, which he built into Scandinavia’s biggest private telephone, mobile telephone, and ISP company. He brings CLO Ola Silberman and CFO Liia Nõu with him.
At the same time, Icon Medialab London opens in Wired Magazine’s former office on the South Bank and David King is recruited as MD.
In September Icon Medialab opens in Kuala Lumpur and is awarded MSC status to take part in the Malaysian government’s ambitious IT projects. Later, as the local economy collapses, the Kuala Lumpur office is put on hold.
In October, TheAlps merges with Skiin of France to form the world’s largest winter sport portal.
In November 1997, Icon Medialab Copenhagen is launched and Finland’s leading web bureau The Works in Tampere is acquired and becomes Icon Medialab Finland. The Works’ founder Alex Nimeninen is appointed MD.