Six startups have now officially been chosen to compete for the title of “Content Startup of the Year”. The finalists will participate in the 2020 CONTENTshift accelerator organised by the Börsenvereinsgruppe (Group of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association), a three-month programme that will provide them with access to an international network of investors, experienced entrepreneurs and experts drawn from the book and media industry. Five of this year’s finalists are from Germany and one of them is from Great Britain. The CONTENTshift jury selected the startups from a pool of 39 submissions sent in from ten different countries.
The following finalists were able to beat out their competitors in a preliminary round of pitching:
“Our six finalists reflect the impressively wide scope of today’s content sector”, noted jury spokesperson Carmen Udina from Friedrich Oetinger Publishers, who also functions as the spokesperson of the Börsenverein’s Digital Interest Group. “This year’s business models range from AI-based applications to innovations in craftsmanship involving both analogue and digital approaches. What all of the six startups have in common is that they provide us with new perspectives on established workflows and processes. One finalist gives us insight into the more efficient data processing of texts, while another shows us the opportunities to foster reading among children with and without visual impairments using tactile feedback”.
“We are delighted with the quality of our participating startups this year. We were not able to experience their pitches live, but instead via digital means, but this in no way diminished our enthusiasm. For all of us on the jury, it was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to ask the startups further questions about their ideas, to delve more deeply into their subject matter and to get a real feel for their visions”, said Udina.
The CONTENTshift accelerator is funded by companies active in the book and media industry, with each company sending one representative to sit on the CONTENTshift jury. In addition to Carmen Udina, the other members of the jury are Sabine Haag (Wiley-VCH), Nina Hugendubel (Hugendubel), Per Dalheimer (Hugendubel Digital), Leif Göritz (Thalia), Olaf Carstens (Cornelsen), Detlef Büttner (Lehmanns Media) and Ronald Schild (MVB).
In the coming three months, the six startups will participate in coaching sessions and a co-creation workshop – all via digital means, of course. This will give them the opportunity to discuss their business models with jury members and explore current challenges and opportunities for cooperation. Each startup will also be assigned a mentor who will accompany them and provide advice and guidance for the duration of the programme.
Ultimately, however, only one startup can take home the final funding grant. At an event held at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair, the six finalists will compete in a final pitch. The jurors will then select the Content Startup of the Year, which will be awarded the €10,000 prize grant.
Alongside the CONTENTshift startup club and the “Eisbrecher-Events” (icebreaker events), the CONTENTshift accelerator is part of an CONTENTshift initiative launched by the Börsenvereinsgruppe designed to foster innovation and new business models in the book and media industry.