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5 nominees, 5 business models: A glance at our 2017 startups 26.07.2017

Five startups have successfully passed the CONTENTshift pitch stage and are now embarking on an exciting new phase with their coaches and mentors. So now’s the perfect time to take a look at the very different business models pursued by the 2017 nominees: 

First up is “L-Pub”, which stands for “Learning Publications”. Founded in 2015, this Offenbach-based startup offers genuine added value particularly to publishers. L-Pub embeds extensive in-depth content into regular digital content, no matter whether it’s a novel, operating instructions, a magazine or a brochure. Founder David Steel explains: “Publishers sell curated content. Our idea posits that additional information should be available as a pop-up in the product itself so that users can stay in their reading flow without wandering off onto the internet”. Steel is delighted to report that special-interest and educational publishers are particularly interested in L-Pub at the moment. He also notes that the company has a lot of potential even beyond that.  

While L-Pub inserts supplementary information into documents, the startup known as Kontextlab summarises complex knowledge using comprehensible visuals. As founder Julia Köberlein explains: “We make it possible to recognize connections in a playful manner”. In other words, the company – which was founded in 2015 – offers interactive knowledge maps that enable easier access to highly complex themes. The team came up with the idea after noticing that people these days often feel uninformed in spite of – or perhaps precisely because of – our current era of information overkill. Their in-house online magazine “Kontext”, which is created at Kontextlab, serves as a playground and text lab for their software, which is constantly being developed further. As Julia notes, “We’re being approached by people from very different sectors who find our solutions quite interesting“.  

The third startup comes from Denmark, one of Germany’s neighbours to the north. WriteReader allows children to create, share and publish their own books and thus to learn how to read and write in a very natural way. “Children learn when they’re excited and engaged, and they get excited when they tell their own stories, whether it’s about dinosaurs, skateboarders or pink unicorns”, explains Babar Baig, one of the co-founders of the company launched in 2012. In Denmark, WriteReader is already working with large partners such as Egmont; today, Babar is delighted that the company’s participation in CONTENTshift will open the door to the German market. “The German market is more conservative. It’s an advantage for us that we can show test results and scientific studies that foster our approach – we need that a lot less in Denmark”. 

The French startup Chai developed a mobile app that makes it possible for users to continue to “read” books by means of audio files. “For example, if you’ve been reading a book in bed, you can use our app to continue reading that same book when you’re jogging, eating dinner or waiting for a date”, explains Alexis Botaya. In contrast to what many had predicted, the printed book has not suffered a mortal blow, at least according to Alexis, who argues that the challenge is to now find supplementary media for all living situations – which is exactly what Chai has succeeded in doing. Alexis hopes the participation in CONTENTshift will allow him and his company to better understand the German market, to adapt to the needs of publishers and to find interesting partners.  

It might seem that the startup known as Therapio entered this year’s CONTENTshift race with only an outside chance. However, this is simply not so. Therapio is an app that can be used by therapists to provide their patients with supplementary digital personalized training plans and videos. For therapists and patients, this is a win-win situation: therapists are provided with support in their work with patients, and patients receive effective and motivating supplemental support, for example in the form of training exercises sent directly to their mobile phone. Plus there’s a third group that will soon be involved in the process: medical publishers, healthcare companies and fitness providers will be able to offer their content on a joint platform so that doctors and patients can also benefit from it. “We launched in January and we’re very pleased to be a part of CONTENTshift, which has provided us with a way to contact interested publishers“, explains founder Artjom Pusch. 

In other words, our five promising startups continue to blaze a trail through the CONTENTshift programme 2017. We hope you enjoy!


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