After prevailing against all other applicants and international competitors, these ten startups have been nominated for the CONTENTshift accelerator 2022!
An impressive 39 startups from countries on three different continents – Denmark, India, Canada, the UK and Germany among them – submitted their concepts and ideas to this year’s CONTENTshift accelerator. Ten startups have now been chosen from this outstanding group and will be invited to showcase their merits and hopefully win over the expert jury. Below we’ve compiled a brief summary of the goals and visions of each startup in alphabetical order.
The Ten Startups
Founded just this year by psychologists Diana Huth and Theresa Frank, ACTitude promises to deliver online psychological courses. Their idea draws on a fairly recent approach to psychotherapy known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which teaches people ways of dealing with the emotional challenges of everyday life, such as rejection and stress. On offer will be web-based instruction at a pay-per-course rate and eventually also subscription packages. ACTitude’s greatest priority is to work preventively to avoid psychological stress before it can even emerge. An app is in the works, and the founders are eager to cooperate with leading authors in the field.
enna is another startup focusing on health in a broader sense. The enna team has created a simple operating aid for use with digital devices, such as tablets and smartphones. The systems are rented on a monthly basis and primarily intended for senior citizens overwhelmed by technology and/or for people with disabilities. Two buttons make it easy to navigate, whether that means browsing through a digital photo album of your grandchild, using important everyday applications, such as online banking, or signing up for an appointment to get the Covid-19 vaccination.
The startup guidable has also set its sights on digital devices, albeit in a more mobile context: their idea is to create audio tours for use at interesting sites similar to the guides one uses at leading museums. These tours are designed to be very multifaceted in nature: for example, they might be narrated by travel influencers or eyewitnesses to a specific historical event, and the themes might range from an exploration of 1920s Berlin accompanying users throughout the city for an entire weekend all the way to anecdotes from individuals who fled the GDR. guidable will also create a platform for multimedia content, such as photos and videos, designed to give the stories an even more vivid touch.
Heimsafari also encourages users to get active, but in this case it’s kids’ turn to set out on an adventure. The app is a treasure hunt for children (mainly for – but not limited to – kids of primary school age) that turns users’ homes and backyards into worlds of fantasy and fun. The app was developed by Johannes Wöhler, himself a father of four who, like many parents during the Covid-19 lockdown, faced the challenge of keeping his kids occupied at home. Heimsafari makes it possible for parents and families to create their own stories and treasure hunts, but the app can also be used in schools, zoos and other institutions. In fact, since its launch in 2021, Heimsafari has already been downloaded more than 6,000 times.
Immer.App from the Netherlands has set itself the task of making reading easier, especially for digital natives, by adding multimedia features to e-books. Founder Niels ’t Hooft and his team are eager to reach readers already used to using e-books as well as those non-readers who’ve always thought books were boring. The app aims to maintain a very low threshold when it comes to entering the world of books, for example by providing audiovisual content and the ability to make personal notes as well as fostering an immersive experience of reading in general.
Kompreno also focuses on digital reading, but in this case the texts being read are newspapers. The app was created in 2020 and seeks to fulfil a key wish of many readers for access to articles from fields and media that interest them all bundled together in one place. What’s Kompreno’s special feature? Not only do users enjoy a flat rate in terms of content, but that content also comes from international sources and gets translated into German from English, Spanish, French and Italian using highly advanced technology, thus creating a “window on the world” that can bring Europe closer together.
Founded back in 2015,Librileo is an already well-established reading club for children aged 0-7 years. For a monthly membership fee of 10 euros, families receive a package at home every three months containing a children’s book, a how-to book with tips and tricks, and a game. One of Librileo’s key goals is to help find suitable books for kids. They also have more than 300 reading videos in their media library, plus they offer digital reading lessons. And their success proves they’re on the right track: several thousand children are already using the programme today.
QuizCo also has an educational bent to it: in this case, the app draws on its own AI – the so-called Content Processor – to transform documents into learning materials. Founder Maximilian Friedrich came up with the idea when he noticed that a student he was tutoring preferred playing Quizduell to actually studying – in other words, a more play-oriented approach was needed! With the touch of a button, the app makes it possible to convert texts into quizzes but also into summaries, gap texts and keywords, thereby always adapting to the individual needs of learners.
Storyverse is eager to enhance the standing of printed books and content by means of multimedia, thereby helping to remove the dichotomy between digital and analogue worlds. Strictly speaking, their approach involves using augmented reality, videos, images and animation to garner deeper insights into texts. Their first pilot projects involved a novel from Germany’s popular Perry Rhodan series and the book Jüdische Welt verstehen (The Jewish Book of Why), whereby text passages and objects were visualised using augmented reality, thus allowing readers a more direct experience.
VENDERY is keen to provide consumers with a better online shopping experience. Their goal is to reduce the high number of online product returns, for example, by having online retailers present their products via livestream and engage directly with customers and their questions. Another idea is to draw on AI to provide a shopping avatar that promises an enhanced sense of “hands-on” customer care. In this spirit, VENDERY is very interested in the sales markets of countries such as China and South Korea, where live e-commerce is already extremely popular.
From Expert Jury to Frankfurt Book Fair
These ten startups are now invited to travel to Frankfurt, where they will present their ideas at an exclusive pitch event on 28 June. The jury of experts set up to judge the nominees includes Olaf Carstens from Cornelsen, Nina Hugendubel and Per Dalheimer from Hugendubel, Stephan Dietrich from Junfermann, Detlef Büttner from Lehmanns Media, Leif Göritz from Thalia, Wolfgang Pichler from MANZ'sche Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung and Stefanie Penck from teNeues. The Börsenvereinsgruppe is also sending managing directors Peter Kraus vom Cleff and Ronald Schild. The jury is rounded out by SAP’s Deepa Gautam-Nigge and coaches Harald Henzler (smartdigits) and Okke Schlüter (Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart).
The jury will select five finalists from among these ten startups, and those finalists will gain access to an excellent network of book and media industry experts and investors as well as coaching sessions and workshops. The startup of the year will be chosen on 20 October 2022 at the Frankfurt Book Fair and receive a prize of €10,000.
Text: Isabella A. Caldart
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