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Content Startups of the Year 2018

Sigmund Talks and SummarizeBot

SummarizeBot and Sigmund Talks (c) Christina Weiß
Finale (c) Christina Weiß

Grand finale: Congratulations to our winners!

Today was a big day for CONTENTshift in a number of different ways! The CONTENTshift jury of book-industry experts made its final decision and announced the winners of the 2018 competition. That’s right, not just one but two young companies were able to win over the jury in equal measure: Sigmund Talks and SummarizeBot were chosen to share first prize at this year’s competition organised by the content-industry accelerator. Sigmund Talks is an intelligent chatbot that allows users to create individualised content for use in content marketing. SummarizeBot is a toolbox that draws on artificial intelligence and semantic analysis to aggregate key content, thus allowing users to manage large amounts of information. This is the first time CONTENTshift has ever had two winners. 

All of us on the CONTENTshift team send out our warmest congratulations to the winners and our biggest thanks to everyone involved in the past several exciting months. We had a great time with all the nominated startups, whose commitment and engagement impressed us all tremendously!

Jury picks two winners

This morning, prior to the jury’s announcement, all five nominated startups – eKidz.eu, MindZip, Scienceroot, Sigmund Talks and SummarizeBot – took part in a final pitch at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Each of the five young companies gave a tremendous performance, which didn’t make the jury’s decision any easier. “All of the startups impressed us”, explained jury spokesperson Dominik Strähle from Thalia. “However, the special element shared by Sigmund Talks and SummarizeBot is that they both bring artificial intelligence – one of the most important digital developments in recent years – to the book industry. In other words, they hold the potential to significantly impact the way we process and communicate content. This is what really impressed us”.

The two winners were jubilant and quickly made their way to the CONTENTshift stage to accept their symbolic cheque totalling €10,000. In his acceptance speech, Marc Süß from Sigmund Talks said: “Thank you so much, we’re so honoured to have been chosen! We’re looking forward to working together and really getting going”. Dmitry Nedovis from SummarizeBot also thanked the jurors for choosing to honour his young company.

CONTENTshift to receive EU funding

In addition to the founders of SummarizeBot and Sigmund Talks, there were also a number of book-industry leaders and political figures on hand to speak at the event. Heinrich Riethmüller, Chairman of the Börsenverein, gave the welcome speech. Dr. Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament, also spoke at the event and helped spotlight the importance of the creative and content industry, especially with regard to the continuing development of Europe. Ehler didn’t stop there, however, and also announced that the European Union will be providing financial support to CONTENTshift in 2019. 

In other words, we have three reasons to celebrate today: we have two amazing CONTENTshift winners, we’ve received major recognition for our programme at the EU level and we can already look forward to the next round of CONTENTshift in 2019.  

There’s just one more important thing to mention: Dominik Strähle, the jury spokesperson from Thalia, also took a moment to strongly encourage any interested industry players to get involved and participate in CONTENTshift. At the award ceremony today, he said: “CONTENTshift provides a direct path to innovation and new ideas. There’s so much we can learn from startups, and I highly recommend becoming a member of our jury”. We second this sentiment and encourage anyone interested in becoming a member of the jury to contact us soon.

Congratulations to both of you! You were named 2018 CONTENTshift startups of the year. Did you think you were going to win?  

Marc Süß (Sigmund Talks): Not at all! We didn’t expect to win. Every single one of the participating startups has such an amazing business idea. We were pretty sure SummarizeBot would win, and as it turns out, we were right. 

Dmitry Nedovis (SummarizeBot): To be honest, the win was not entirely unexpected for us. Artificial intelligence is an incredibly important topic in the industry right now. 

How have you been feeling since the award ceremony?

Marc Süß: The award ceremony was not a farewell for us, but rather a “see you soon!” We want to stay in touch with everyone. In terms of media, just participating in CONTENTshift already helped us tremendously, and as soon as we actually won, the media attention increased even more. We even noticed an increase in the number of registrations for our product since we won. In other words, it was really worth it. 

Dmitry Nedovis: The media interest in our company has been quite significant. We’ve given a number of interviews since the award ceremony and we’ve even had a couple of conversations with potential clients. This is going to open up so many opportunities for us. 

How did you experience your participation in CONTENTshift? 

Marc Süß: The three months were totally great. Okke Schlüter was our coach, and he was at our side at all times. Plus the feedback we got from our mentor, Ronald Schild, was very valuable. The highlight of our experience was the four-week workshop at the Mediencampus Frankfurt, which included training on how to give presentations. We were able to work on our business plans, too, and the change in perspective did us lots of good. 

Dmitry Nedovis: We benefited most from the insights we gained into the publishing industry. Prior to that point, we knew very little about the sector. It was also an absolutely enriching experience to be able to work with startups from other countries, to share an amazing level of energy and to realise that we all have a similar vision.

What happens now? Any specific plans?

Marc Süß: We’re going to stay in contact with the coaches, the jury and the other startups. Plus we’ve made contact with partners with whom we want to engage in pilot projects where Sigmund can come into practice in the coming months. 

Dmitry Nedovis: The same goes for us, too. We’re definitely going to stay in contact. Plus we’re considering cooperating with “Tolino”. We would love to be able to integrate our service into that product. There are also a number of exciting ideas we’re going to pursue even more intensively now. 

Text: Christiane Petersen
Photographs: Christina Weiß

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