Five Startups from Germany, Latvia, and Romania Chosen for 2018 ContentShift

In News by Porter Anderson

When the five startups chosen for this year’s ContentShift program pitch their respective offers at the Frankfurter Buchmesse, they’ll have been given three months of accelerator attention and support.

Image – iStockphoto: Vasyl Dolmatov

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘A Broad Spectrum of Today’s Industry’
This year’s five companies in contention for Germany’s “Content Startup of the Year 2018” have been announced today (July 2) by the ContentShift program, chosen from 32 submissions from nine countries.

The shortlisted companies are:

  • (Germany): A digital language lab that helps children strengthen their German-language skills
  • MindZip (Germany): An app designed to help users retain newly learned knowledge in a sustainable way
  • Scienceroot (Romania): A blockchain ecosystem designed to foster and connect the international scientific community
  • Sigmund Talks (Germany): A program of individualized content marketing using chatbots
  • SummarizeBot (Latvia): Semantic analysis and aggregation of content

As Publishing Perspectives readers will remember, ContentShift is an accelerator program staged by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s Publishers and Booksellers Association.

In the next three months, these companies’ founders will attend coaching sessions and participate in a joint workshop weekend, set for September 14 to 17 at Frankfurt’s MediaCampus. That weekend event includes two days’ discussion of the companies’ business models and two days of coaching for founders

The ContentShift accelerator is “designed to help each young company gain access to an international network of investors, entrepreneurship experts, and industry authorities,” according to media messaging from the program.

“With business models covering everything from artificial intelligence [and] knowledge management to the handling of automated content,” program organizers say, represent “the broad spectrum of today’s media and content industry.”

The jury spokesperson for the selections is Dominik Strähle, senior manager for digital products at Thalia. He’s quoted, saying, “The startups and business models associated with our five finalists provide further evidence that founders in Europe are making the most of future technologies—and doing so with a great deal of confidence.

“Whether machine learning or the development of new ecosystems and digital strategies designed to promote reading–there’s no doubt that all these concepts will have a tremendous influence on our industry.”

ContentShift, Strähle says, is a way his company and jury colleagues can “foster fresh momentum for innovation and cooperation in the book and media industry.”

Joining Strähle on the jury are:

  • Detlef Büttner, a Börsenverein board member with Lehmanns Media
  • Per Dalheimer and Nina Hugendubel, of the bookstore chain Hugendubel
  • Michael Döschner-Apostolidis, Börsenverein IG Digital spokesman, with Holtzbrinck ePublishing
  • Leif Göritz of Thalia
  • Bettina Hansen of Georg Thieme Verlag
  • Wolfgang Pichler of MANZ’sche Verlags and Universitätsbuchhandlung
  • Ronald Schild of MVB Marketing and Verlagsservice des Buchhandels
  • Ellen Voráč of Deezer

The program is designed so that those jurors, like the founders of the participating startups, gain from the experience of engaging. Jurors make financial contributions to the program in order to hae their spots on the panel and to have a chance to gain exclusive access to the startups in the competition.

The program will culminate in an event at Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 10 to 14), when the founders of the five shortlisted companies will present their pitch for the prize and other attendees. Following the pitch session, the winner of the Content Startup of the Year honor will be announced.

That final pitch session and award is set for the book fair’s ARTS+ area in Hall 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on October 11.

The prize attached to the award is €10,000 (US$11,642).

More from Publishing Perspectives on Germany’s ContentShift program is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.