Germany’s ContentShift Names Its 2023 Top 10 Start-Ups

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The Top 10 named today participate on June 28 in a Frankfurt pitching session, after which the jury will choose the five shortlisted start-ups.

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

A Top 10 Chosen From 44 International Applicants
As you’ll remember, Germany’s eighth international ContentShift accelerator program for book-publishing-related start-ups opened its program for applications in March with a deadline of May 8.

Today (June 12), the program has announced the participating companies chosen for this year’s exercise as the initial 10 start-ups chosen from a pool of 44 applicants from three continents, with represented countries including the Philippines, Romania, the Netherlands, France, and the United States.

Organizers are noting to members of the news media that “artificial intelligence” factors into a number of the chosen outfits, “showing the new possibilities that AI integration opens up for our industry.” The 10 selected companies, according to media messaging today, “breaks new ground in sales models and makes reading promotion even more digital.”

All of this culminates in a winning start-up, which will receive €10,000 euros (US$10,766). And all participating start-ups have exclusive access to members of the program’s jury, which comprises decision-makers from the book industry. Jurors provide the start-ups with advice, support, and contacts during three intensive workshop days in September.

Later this month, on June 27, these 10 selected start-ups will present their business ideas at a pitching event in Frankfurt. The jury will choose five of the programs and the founders of those five companies will have “access to a top-class network of investors and start-up industry experts from the book and media industries.” It’s expected that the five shortlistees will be named on June 28.

The jury then will decide who is to become “Start-up of the Year 2023,” after a public pitch round on October 19 of that top five at Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22).

ContentShift’s Top 10 Applicants

In the following list—provided by ContentShift—we have lightly edited the start-up descriptions to eliminate promotional elements.

  • Bookplay combines a loyalty program with empathetic gamification: The start-up makes classic books a digital experience, with numerous educational games and feedback elements, and it rewards reading aloud with redeemable points.
  • Factiverse works to counter the spread of misleading and/or false content on the Internet. The product checks text content and recognizes distortions, using either a downloadable browser extension (Factiversing) or the integration of customizable API (Application Programming Interface) access to the user’s platform.
  • GoLexic offers a children’s reading promotional app that can be used at home or at school. The app allows children to work independently through 15-minute training sessions, working on skills that help improve reading and spelling.
  • HeadwAI asserts that it has developed a “knowledge access point” for specialist literature. The result: information said to be trustworthy from comprehensible sources, prepared individually. Thanks to AI, numerous intelligent functionalities are integrated, including summaries, references, follow-up questions, and contradiction detection.
  • LeReTo offers a book screener, an interactive, multi-disciplinary research and book tool that can make publishers’ specialist book inventory accessible. With interactive elements, it should make research for specialist knowledge more enjoyable.
  • Lit-X makes literature success transparent and predictable based on data. For this purpose, the start-up offers dashboards and applications such as “trend scouting” and “pricing.” For example, publishers can take a look at the success drivers of a genre, compare them, and calculate probabilities of success by modifying factors.
  • Maple Tales has developed stories in which children choose between two and three options every three to five minutes to influence the course of a story. There are also gamification factors, such as increased personalization, reading aids such as hyphenation and dictionary functions, and AI-based reading feedback. Book trailers are also part of the platform’s offer.
  • Summ AI describes itself as “Google Translate for easy language”: The AI-based tool translates complicated text into “easy language” defined in the area of ​​accessibility, for example creating texts with shorter sentences, an “easy” choice of words, and accessible explanations.
  • Thea‘s platform uses AI to enable educational providers to digitize and enrich analog content easily, to create digital content, and to play it out to a target group. The platform helps with the creation of exercises, as well as with worksheets and other teaching materials consisting of text, audio, and gamification.
  • XigXag has developed an app that combines listening and reading concepts along with a social platform. Listeners can switch between listening and reading for a single fee. They also get access to note-taking, quote sharing, word and illustration lookups, and community.
Jurors in the 2023 ContentShift Program

Jurors come from the companies that sponsor this year’s ContentShift.

That jury comprises:

  • Martina Fiddrich (Cornelsen Verlag)
  • Nina Hugendubel and Per Dalheimer (Hugendubel bookstore)
  • Detlef Büttner and Leif Göritz (Lehmanns Media/Thalia bookstore)
  • Colin Hauer (Hörbuch Hamburg)
  • Wolfgang Pichler (MANZ Verlag and bookstore )
  • Jasmin Ahluwalia and Philipp Neie (Schweitzer technical information)
  • Stefanie Penck (TeNeues Verlag)
  • Ronald Schild (MVB)
  • Lennart Schneider (independent strategy consultant) is an external partner of the program

More from Publishing Perspectives on the ContentShift program is here. More from us on the German market is here, and more on international book and publishing competitions and awards is here. Publishing Perspectives is a project of Frankfurter Buchmesse, operated through MVB US, Inc.

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.com, 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.