Five startups selected for Renew the Book

Renew the Book, a collaboration between accelerator Rockstart and Dutch book publishers, has announced the top 5 book related startups that will come to Amsterdam for an acceleration program. Novellic, StoryTourist, WriteReader, Writing for TiNY and Zola Books will come to The Netherlands for a 40 day acceleration program and a chance to win the 15k cash prize.

About Renew the Book

Renew the book, now in it’s second year, is an initiative to encourage innovation in the ook industry. The program has been initiated by the Dutch Group of General Publishers (GAU) and is run together with Rockstart, the Amsterdam based accelerator. It is a good example of an open innovation program where existing players and startups collaborate. External startups have been invited to apply (as announced on Startupjuncture in December) and 53 startups have responded. Out of these 53 startups, five startups have been selected as finalists, and will join a high pressure accelerator programme similar to the other Rockstart Accelerator programs. At the end of Renew the Book, on March 31st 2017, the startup with the best pitch will win a 15k cash prize. During the program, the startups will be mentored by mentors from the publishing industry.

Results from last year

Last year’s winner was Bookarang, a Dutch artificial intelligence startup that uses AI to help people find the most interesting book. Cofounder Frederique Schut is recommending the program to startups: “It was extremely valuable to get so much input, feedback and inspiration from people from the field. We are still in contact with some of the mentors.“. Rob Veneboer, one of the mentors at Renew the book is on the advisory board of Bookarang.

Selected book startups

The five selected startups are:

  • Novellic from London. This startup, formerly known as Join Book Club, has made an app for book club members. Using the app, book clubs can schedule their meetings, chat about the current book or pick the next book.
  • StoryTourist from Sweden. This startup has created an app that allow people to read stories linked to their current location. It seems ideal for exploring cities with a lot of history and authors.
  • WriteReader from Denmark lets small children (ages 4-11) create their own books as part of a classroom project. The books itself are very short and basic so this is not really a author discovery platform, but we can imagine that the children have a lot of fun and learn a lot about becoming an author during the project of creating their own book.
  • Writing for TiNY from Ireland is creating personalized books for children about difficult topics, such as changes, worries and milestones. Any adult can go to the website, use the forms and order a customized and personalized book.
  • Zola books (New York) offers a bookshop widget to website owners. Zola was cofounded in 2012 by Joe Regal and Michael Strong, in order to help authors and website owners to get better term on book sales.

We hope all five startups enjoy their time in Amsterdam, benefit from the acceleration program, will connect to book publishers and stay in touch with the Dutch ecosystem. And perhaps the startups can also help the Dutch publishers learn more about innovation so that we will have a more nimble and agile book industry in The Netherlands.

Image credit: Maria Eklind CC from Flickr.