8 startups get a big boost

It’s a transformational time in the news business, and success belongs to those who experiment and innovate.

So today I was glad to see that the Newspaper Association of America announced its participants in a program called Accelerator Pitch, which gives startup businesses an opportunity to sell their ideas to newspaper companies.

How it works is that eight startups, which were narrowed from a field of 20, will present a pitch on how their company would fulfill a newspaper’s needs in “print, digital, mobile, audience or advertising.” The actual presentations will be made to executives in media and advertising at the NAA mediaXchange 2014 event, March 16-19, in Denver.

All eight sound interesting, although more information is needed. Only a one- to two-sentence synopsis of each startup was shared in the announcement.

Here is a summary of the eight, released by NAA:

  • Cinemacraft – “As the newspaper industry gets more and more into the video content business, particularly with the increase of mobile video consumption, Cinemacraft helps publishers gives their users a top-notch and immersive video viewing experience.”
  • City Portals, LLC – “City Portals, LCC provides a partnership approach to newspapers for building a substantial growing business sin both online and mobile. Our relationship includes a complete and cloud-based platform as well as a full suite of services for quickly creating a market-dominant digital media business.”
  • Ebyline – “Ebyline provides publishers with a virtual newsroom environment that challenges the concept of a physical newsroom altogether. In short, our business is about improving content economics.”
  • Guarantee Digital – “Guarantee Digital provides while label Digital Agency services to a growing list of media partners in over 30 markets in the United States. We give our partners the ability to offer the essential web, social and mobile marketing and services local merchants need to reach today’s connected consumer.”
  • MediaWorks – “MediaWorks brings Big Data to publisher media. The goal is to bring the power of data driven solutions to a publisher’s advertising offerings, which ultimately translates to stronger advertiser ROI.
  • saambaa – “saambaa is revolutionizing how local publishers deploy and monetize mobile apps. Our technology makes it easy for publishers to transfer their entertainment content into a branded, native mobile entertainment app for iPhone or Android.”
  • Simpli.fi – “Our In.Finity Programmatic marketing platform is the first platform purpose-built for unstructured data. The fundamental differentiating capabilities around unstructured data empower Simpl.fi to serve the unique needs of the local media company and their advertisers.
  • SocialNewsDesk – “SocialNewsDesk is the only social media management tool designed specifically with the needs of a newsroom in mind. SocialNewsDesk enables the newspaper company to manage its entire social strategy from a single web-based application.”

“SocialNewsDesk” might work well for a small newspaper that hasn’t developed a strong social media strategy. And “saambaa” sounds like it might have ideas for how to monetize mobile apps, especially those involving entertainment content.

When NAA announced the competition in November, NAA President and CEO Carolyn Little said Accelerator Pitch was like no other program for new companies.

“The future of our industry, in print, digital and advertising, will be led by innovative companies bringing forth a wide range of exciting and new ideas to fuel growth,” Little said. “This program is an opportunity unlike any other for startup companies and we look forward to seeing what these companies have to share with the industry in March.”

I also look forward to seeing what happens.

Follow me on Twitter @karenmichel.




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