It was a long journey from the initial idea for CONTENTshift to its official launch on 25 April 2016. The original challenge was to come up with a programme that was attractive to companies already working in the content industry while also benefiting young and exciting startups. The plan to create a content industry accelerator was born almost two years ago in mid-2014 simultaneous to the founding of the Börsenverein's startup club. Indeed, we had recognised early on that the industry would have much to gain from dealing more intensively with startups and startup culture, and especially with new working methods and areas of expertise. The startup club's networking events – in which startups pitched to an industry audience – were a tremendous success and only confirmed our hunch that the hunger was there, and it wasn't only coming from the startups. Ultimately, it became increasingly clear that the creation of an industry accelerator was the next logical step.
It was exciting for all of us working in business development to dive into the world of incubators, hubs and accelerators. First we brainstormed to come up with the CONTENTshift concept, and after that we entered the concrete planning phase. Throughout this phase, we received key support from a number of colleagues working in the press office, in marketing, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, at the MVB (Marketing and Publishing Services of the German Book Trade) and at the mediacampus. In other words, we benefited from the expertise of the entire Börsenverein Group (Börsenvereinsgruppe). We also enjoyed the advice and valuable input of external experts, including Dr. Carsten Linz, Prof. Dr. Katja Nettesheim, Dr. Harald Henzler and Prof Dr. Okke Schlüter. The feedback we got from startup club participants was also worth its weight in gold.
What is unique about CONTENTshift? First of all, the programme is industry-specific. Secondly, it is not profit-oriented. Thirdly, it connects the interests of industry players directly with those of up-and-coming founders and entrepreneurs. This last point is decisive and derives from our conviction that innovation can only flourish when all stakeholders work in concert. We also firmly believe that the expertise held by established industry companies can act as a superb complement to the innovative business models brought to the table by young companies. At this point, we're very much looking forward to seeking out and finding new ideas for the content industry together with all of our members and supporters!
Ute Lütkenhaus & Dorothee Werner