Next Media Accelerator – the 6th Batch (Part II)

Here we continue with the Next Media Accelerator, Batch 6. In the second part of our little series about the new participants we present selected journalism with Praise and Locationews, museum chat bots from helloguide and success predictions from Exponenta.

Praise brings the best in journalism

Paul Solbach sets high standards for his startup: Praise shall become the definitive platform for reading recommendations and present only the best in journalism. In order to enjoy such pearls, users can pick publishers of their choice, from large media houses to ambitious bloggers. These determine which five posts they select for their followers per week.

On this group picture of “Batch 6” you can see Paul Solbach of Praise on the far left (Photo: Next Media Accelerator)

Praise doesn’t want to be a news media. For example, anyone expecting interim results from coalition negotiations or final results from football matches is at the wrong place on the platform. It also doesn’t cover certain departments such as culture or business, but readers receive a “best of” from all areas. As a special service, these can also be items that otherwise have to be paid for.

The four-person team, spread evenly over Hamburg and Berlin, has already gained some experience in journalism and software development. As a business model, they are looking for high-quality sponsoring formats. If the range of coverage is sufficient, publishers could also be asked to pay for it, as Praise offers them a good opportunity for self-advertising. More specifically, will provide, as the service is not yet available.

Locationews puts local news on the map

Locationews is also about curated journalism, albeit with a different approach. There is no news about coalition negotiations and football matches here either, unless they take place in the vicinity or in a place of one’s particular interest. All editorial contributions are assigned to the locations mentioned in the texts.

Julius Koskela, COO of Locationews

On a map you can then see, for example, which articles are currently circulating about events from Hamburg, ideally in specific districts. In this way, Locationews wants to strengthen local journalism and offers a forum for citizens’ reporters. Since Google is already a supporter, there is a lot of technology of the search engine giant in the software of the startup, starting of course with the map adapted by Google Maps.

Locationews is from Finland. In its home country, the team led by founders Markus Sjöberg (CEO) and Julius Koskela (COO) has already put over 2,000 articles on the map, including a story about a florist’s shop and its beautiful wedding packages. Similarly paid contributions are expected to generate income when Locationews goes public on a large scale in the summer. An iOS app is already available.

helloguide brings chatbots to the museum

The best startup ideas are often created through everyday experiences. Ines Woermann from Hamburg has two teenage children (14 and 16) who did not want to use an audio guide during a visit to the museum. It just didn’t seem up to date anymore. Thereupon, the graduate businesswoman and marketing expert Ines developed the idea of providing museum visitors with the most important information via chatbot. That also offers the possibility of surveys and other interactive elements.

Ines Woermann, founder of helloguide

For the realization of her idea she took the IT and business expert Tilo Ferrari on board, who has many years of professional experience as well. helloguide is thus a beautiful example that startup founders do not always have to come fresh from the university. The first projects with the chatbot developed in Poland have been successfully completed, for example at the German Historical Museum in Berlin. More than 2,000 visitors have already taken advantage of the offer.

Registration is easy via WhatsApp or another messenger. Users can then, in dialogue with the Chatbot, for example receive information about individual exhibits that are marked accordingly. So far helloguide has developed the chatbots individually for each customer. In the medium term, however, a platform is to be created which will enable customers, mainly from the fields of culture and tourism, to enter the contents themselves.

Exponenta forecasts success for web content

Exponenta is particularly internationally positioned. Daria Minsky, CEO, comes from Minsk, Clarissa Watson from Madrid. Exponenta is working on predicting which content works when on the web and is best distributed through social channels. The startup uses machine learning and the principles of neuro-linguistic programming. This results in suggestions which content publishers should publish next. Unfortunately, Daria was not present at our visit to the Next Media Accelerator at the betahaus because she had to go to Minsk at short notice. But we will certainly report on Exponenta in more detail later!