Germany’s ContentShift Accelerator Opens Its 2021 Program

In News by Porter Anderson

The ContentShift accelerator program from the Börsenverein has opened for applications. Five startups will be chosen and one will win €10,000 at Frankfurter Buchmesse.

Image – iStockphoto: Mongkolchon Akesin

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Application Deadline: May 1
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, ContentShift is an accelerator program offered since 2016 by  the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels—Germany’s Publishers and Booksellers Association—with a goal of identifying and supporting promising startups working in spaces relative to books and media.

And today (March 2), the program is open for this year’s applications featuring “innovative business models from startups with solutions for the book and content industry—from new technologies related to texts and reading to marketing tools and products that impart content.”

Each year, the program brings together investors, experts, and founders, looking to encourage innovation in the book business and to reward the best initiative. Participating startups use the program to substantiate their business models in workshops and coaching sessions and to secure investors. The program culminates in the naming of the “Content Startup of the Year,” and that company wins €10,000 (US$12,039).

The ContentShift accelerator is funded by companies in the book industry, and they each provide on advisory jury member for the evaluation process.

This year, the program is being supported by:

  • Specialist book retailer Lehmanns Media
  • Publishing houses Cornelsen, Junfermann, and Wiley-VCH
  • The SAP Next-Gen Innovation Network—serving as a partner from outside the publishing industry.

Stefanie Park

In prepared statements for the season-opening announcement, Stefanie Perk, head of strategy and innovation at the Börsenverein is quoted, saying, “Through the accelerator program of the ContentShift initiative, we connect book and content startups directly with the book industry and support them in developing their business models.

“In this way, they can assist and accompany the book industry with their ideas during an exciting transformation process.

We’re looking forward to seeing their approaches to, for example, processing data, simplifying collaborations, and generating enthusiasm for books, both today and in the future.”

Gesa Schöning

And we hear from Gesa Schöning, managing partner of the 2019 winner, QualiFiction, we read, “Participating in the ContentShift accelerator has helped our company take a giant step forward.

“Because of the program’s close exchange with top players in the industry, we were able to develop our idea further and in a specific way that enabled us to create an offer that was relevant for the book industry.

“In the meantime, the technology and information provider MVB is using our AI to provide the book trade with the new classification standard ‘Lesemotive’ in an automated way through the Verzeichnis Lieferbarer Bücher (VLB) over the next few months.”

From applications received by the May 1 deadline, five participating startups will be chosen for the program.

Selected entrepreneurs will receive comprehensive coaching and advice from experts for several months starting July 1. The highlight of the program is a co-creation workshop for startups and jury members at the beginning of September.

The accelerator program will culminate at Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 20-24), where all participants will pitch their developed business ideas. At this event, the jury will then select the “Content Start-up of the Year” and award the prize money.

More information and application details can be found here.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the ContentShift program is here. More from us on the German market is here.

And more from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he 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.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As as an arts critic (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.