The German startup Sigmund Talks and the Latvian startup SummarizeBot were named “Content Startups of the Year” at the Frankfurt Book Fair today. The two winners were chosen as part of the CONTENTshift programme, an industry accelerator launched three years ago by the Börsenvereinsgruppe. Sigmund Talks is an intelligent chatbot that allows users to create individualised content for use in content marketing. SummarizeBot is a toolbox that draws on artificial intelligence and semantic analysis to aggregate key content, thus allowing users to manage large amounts of information.
This year’s CONTENTshift jury selected the two winning startups from among five candidates that had made it to the final round. A total of 32 startups from nine countries originally applied to participate in CONTENTshift. Sigmund Talks and SummarizeBot will each take home a €5,000 incentive bonus.
Dominik Strähle, jury spokesperson and Senior Manager Digital Products at Thalia, explained the jury’s decision: “By choosing both Sigmund Talks and SummarizeBot, CONTENTshift decided to honour two startups at once for the first time ever. Both startup teams were able to win over the jury members. While Sigmund Talks allows users to generate automated content, SummarizeBot makes it possible for us to manage large flows of information. Both ideas bring artificial intelligence – one of the most important digital developments in recent years – to the book industry. And both have the potential to significantly change the manner in which we process and convey content”.
Among the other startups on the shortlist in addition to the winners were eKidz.eu (Germany, digital language lab for fostering literacy in children), MindZip (Germany, designed to help users retain knowledge in a sustainable way) and Scienceroot (Rumania, Blockchain ecosystem designed to connect the global scientific community).
CONTENTshift will enter its fourth year in 2019, and companies are already invited to get involved as investors in next year’s competition. By investing in the programme, companies receive a spot on the jury as well as direct and exclusive access to all participating startups.
In 2018, the CONTENTshift jury comprised the following members: Detlef Büttner (board member, Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Lehmanns Media), Per Dalheimer and Nina Hugendubel (Hugendubel), Michael Döschner-Apostolidis (spokesperson, IG Digital, Börsenverein, Holtzbrinck ePublishing), Dr. Bettina Hansen (Georg Thieme Verlag), Dr. Wolfgang Pichler (MANZ'sche Verlags- und Universitätsbuchhandlung), Ronald Schild (MVB Marketing- und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels), Dr. Leif Göritz and Dominik Strähle (Thalia), Ellen Voráč (Deezer).
Throughout the CONTENTshift programme and competition, the following experts acted as mentors to the startups: Nina Hugendubel and Per Dalheimer mentored eKidz.eu; Ronald Schild mentored SigmundTalks; Detlef Büttner mentored Scienceroot; Dr. Bettina Hansen mentored SummarizeBot; and Ellen Voráč mentored MindZip.
Prof. Dr. Okke Schlüter and Dr. Harald Henzler also accompanied CONTENTshift and contributed to the programme as startup coaches.