The German startup Sigmund Talks and the Latvian startup SummarizeBot were named “Content Startups of the Year” on October 11 at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The two winners were chosen as part of the CONTENTshift programme, an accelerator geared towards startups active in the content industry. CONTENTshift was launched three years ago by the Börsenvereinsgruppe. This is the first time the programme has ever had two winners.

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 this year. Sigmund Talks and SummarizeBot each took home a €5,000 incentive bonus.

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All five nominated startups took part in a final pitch

In the morning of October 11, prior to the jury’s announcement, all five nominated startups –, MindZip, Scienceroot, Sigmund Talks and SummarizeBot – took part in a final pitch at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Each of the five young companies gave a tremendous performance, which didn’t make the jury’s decision any easier. “All of the startups impressed us”, explained jury spokesperson Dominik Strähle from Thalia. “However, the special element shared by Sigmund Talks and SummarizeBot is that they both bring artificial intelligence – one of the most important digital developments in recent years – to the book industry. In other words, they hold the potential to significantly impact the way we process and communicate content. This is what really impressed us”. First pilot projects and cooperation initiatives between some of the founders and established industry players have already been set up, for example Tolino Media and SummarizeBot are working together on a reader analytics project.

CONTENTshift to receive EU funding
There were also a number of book-industry leaders and political figures on hand to speak at the event. Heinrich Riethmüller, Chairman of the Börsenverein, gave the welcome speech. Dr. Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament, also spoke at the event and helped spotlight the importance of the creative and content industry, especially with regard to the continuing development of Europe. Ehler didn’t stop there, however, and also announced that the European Union will be providing financial support to extend CONTENTshift in 2019.

In the end Dominik Strähle outlined how publishers and booksellers benefit from the project: “CONTENTshift provides a direct path to innovation and new ideas. There’s so much we can learn from startups, and I highly recommend becoming a member of our jury”. Anyone who is interested in becoming a member of the jury, can find more information on participation options on the website.

A slightly different version of this article has been originally published on the CONTENTshift website.