The air was filled with excitement at the grand finale of the CONTENTshift accelerator at this year’s Frankfurt Trade Fair. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house as the five nominated startups presented their business models one last time to the jury, investors and the general public. We were rooting for all five finalists: EasyCorrect with its digital correction and feedback tool for teachers and students; Jellybooks with its digital reading samples and integrated reader analytics; Mitmalfilm with its software able to transfer analogue colouring templates into animation films; Varia with its software that enables readers to overcome filter bubbles by providing quality news from different perspectives; and, finally, QualiFiction, the startup that uses artificial intelligence to analyse the content, style and marketability of texts, thus making it possible for authors and publishers to automate the way they classify fictional texts, enhance metadata and predict a book’s sales potential. A tremendous cheer filled the room when jury spokesman Hermann Eckel, managing director of tolino media and co-spokesperson for the Börsenverein’s digital interest group IG Digital, announced the final pick: “The winner is … QualifFction!”
A difficult decision. A worthy prize-winner.
“We’re simply delighted”, said QualifFction co-founder Gesa Schöning only minutes after the award ceremony. “Delighted for the honour and the prize money, and delighted about the contacts we’ll make and the business opportunities that will result from this award”. Her co-founder Ralf Winkler, who was standing right next to her, exclaimed: “The first thing we’re going to do is celebrate!” And yet, even though QualifFction is set to take home €10,000 in prize money, the winners were not in any rush to get home. As Schöning noted, “We have our own stand here at the Frankfurt Book Fair (3.0 A129) and we have several appointments in the upcoming days. Plus I’m pretty sure we’re going to be scheduling some additional meetings now thanks to our win today”. Our warmest congratulations go out to QualifFction for their well-earned success. “The decision wasn’t easy at all, but QualiFiction definitely won us over”, explained jury spokesman Eckel. “The startup addresses major challenges facing all publishers, such as ‘How can I find books that fit my product range amid the flood of available manuscripts?’ and ‘How can I improve the visibility of my titles in the online market?’”. Eckel pointed to the fact that QualiFiction provides assistance in the pre-selection phase as well as with targeted marketing, thus helping publishers work more efficiently, reduce costs and better calculate expenses. At the same time, QualiFiction is also aimed at authors who can have their texts analysed and thereby receive valuable information on how to optimise their manuscripts.
It was a fitting end to an exciting, intense and inspiring year for the CONTENTshift accelerator. We would like to thank all of the great startups that participated in 2019 and all of the fantastic teams behind them. We’re very pleased with the development and success of the founders, and we’re looking forward to the year ahead. The four other 2019 finalists will receive a free year in our startup club and we hope to continue to enjoy a fruitful exchange with them.
CONTENTshift had a great 2019 in quantitative terms, too, with a total of 36 startups submitting applications, 30% of which came from abroad. We’re eager to continue this upward trend, and we will once again be inviting startups to apply to the CONTENTshift competition in 2020, as we get our fifth year underway. And don’t forget that investors are also strongly encouraged to get involved in the CONTENTshift accelerator. As this year proved once again, it’s absolutely worthwhile!
Text: Christiane Petersen Fotos: vntr.media
Managing director Alexander Skipis
Moderator Sara Kelly-Husain
Speech from Lucia Recalde from DG Connect: Supporting innovation in the European content industries
Ralf Winkler from QualiFiction
Gesa Schöning from QualiFiction
Andrew Rhomberg from Jellybooks
Uli Seis and Alice from Gwinner von mitmalfilm
Jacob Gadegaard from EasyCorrect
Georg Horn from Varia
Cigdem Aker (Projectmanagement CONTENTshift)
Jury spokesman Hermann Eckel announces the winner: QualiFiction
#cosh19 winner: QualiFiction
The finalists 2019
Gesa Schöning and Ralf Winkler von QualiFiction
Jury und Start-ups des CONTENTshift-Accelerators 2019