BEA Promotes Publishing Innovation at Startup Challenge
Although much of BookExpo America's discourse seemed colored by the ongoing Amazon-Hachette dispute, there were a number of events that exuded optimism and excitement for the future. Among these was the Startup Challenge, a competition that highlighted the innovation of 18 startups hoping to make their mark on the publishing industry.
This was the inaugural run of the competition at BEA, launched in recognition of the need for more collaboration among the publishing and tech sectors. The startups occupied their own section of the exhibit floor, Startup Alley, where they pitched to publishers and challenge judges in the first round of the competition. Six finalists advanced to the second round, answering questions from an audience of approximately 100 publishing executives at BEA's "Downtown Stage." The two winning startups, Next Big Book and Qlovi, took home cash prizes of $10,000 and $3,000, respectively.
Book Business spoke with some of the finalists to learn about their experience in the Challenge and the innovations they hope to bring to the publishing industry.
Next Big Book Applies Its Analytics Expertise to Publishing
Challenge winner Next Big Book is the new arm of successful company Next Big Sound. The analytics company tracks social data, sales data, and marketing events in the music industry to predict future chart-toppers. Similarly Next Big Book hopes to show publishers what is driving their book sales.
Along with the challenge win, Next Big Book announced a major partnership with Macmillan at BEA. The partnership, says co-founder and CEO Alex White, was in part the result of a connection initially made through Next Big Sound. "An executive from Sony Music, our first major label client, moved to Macmillan," explains White, "We kept in touch and later realized that our technology was just what the publisher was looking for to bring data to their sales and marketing teams worldwide."