Press Release
Frankfurt am Main,

Innovation for the Content Sector: The Finalists for the 2020 Content Shift Accelerator Have Been Chosen

This year’s edition of the Börsenvereinsgruppe’s funding programme for content start-ups now officially underway | six finalists will participate in intense coaching sessions and gain key contacts to the book and media industry | final award ceremony to be held at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair | winning start-up will receive a 10,000 Euro grant

Six start-ups have now officially been chosen to compete for the title of "Content Start-up of the Year". The finalists will participate in the 2020 Content Shift 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 Content Shift jury selected the start-ups 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:

  • Artificial Connect (Germany): automated text summaries for editing systems
  • SciFlow (Germany): a collaborative online text editor that enables users to create, manage and format scientific texts
  • Plus Plural (Germany): A hybrid of book and tactile learning toy used as a barrier-free medium for blind and sighted children
  • Freya Sense (Great Britain): an algorithm that uses cognitive science and behavioural economics to identify triggers and catalysts for customer and target-group behaviour
  • Scriptbakery AI (Germany): Digital receipt, management and analysis of submitted manuscripts using machine learning
  • Questlog (Germany): Wooden storage boxes that combine analogue and digital travel memories using cloud folders in the covers

"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 Content Shift accelerator is funded by companies active in the book and media industry, with each company sending one representative to sit on the Content Shift 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 start-up 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 start-up 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 Start-up of the Year, which will be awarded the 10,000 Euro prize grant.

Alongside the Content Shift start-up club and the “Eisbrecher-Events” (icebreaker events), the Content Shift accelerator is part of an Content Shift initiative launched by the Börsenvereinsgruppe designed to foster innovation and new business models in the book and media industry.

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About the Börsenvereinsgruppe

The Börsenvereinsgruppe (German Publishers and Booksellers Association Group) represents the interests of Germany’s book industry and provides practical and advisory services to book-related companies. The group consists of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers and Booksellers Association) and its business subsidiaries – Frankfurter Buchmesse, MVB, mediacampus Frankfurt and Holding Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels Beteiligungsgesellschaft. The Börsenvereinsgruppe oversees a number of services and educational programmes for the book industry and media sector, including the organisation of representational activities, cultural projects, trade fairs, training programmes and publishing and technology services.

About MVB

Technology and information provider MVB makes books visible. Major platforms, based on international metatdata standards, enable publishers and bookstores to promote their products successfully and efficiently in their home markets and abroad. Editorial and advertising formats as well as face-to-face networking give orientation in different book markets. In close cooperation with customers and market players from all areas of the book industry, the teams located in Frankfurt am Main, Mexico City, New York and São Paulo continuously work on innovative Infrastructure solutions for the book trade of the future. | |


Thomas Koch | Head of Public Relations Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels
Tel.: +49 69 1306-293

Markus Fertig | PR Manager MVB
Tel.: +49 69 1306-374 | Fax: +49 69 1306-17374