Media Lift taking five start-ups to next level

Funding scheme for media start-ups closes with graduation pitch
15 September 2021
Participants in Media Lift

Five finalists pitched their business ideas to audiences in Hamburg’s latest start-up hotspot Hammerbrooklyn after a five-month stint in nextMedia.Hamburg's Media Lift incubator. Over 60 teams had applied for this year's scheme. Participating start-ups received up to EUR 15,000 in seed funding, intensive coaching and access to a vast network of top industry contacts. Media Lift targets early-phase start-ups many of whom have yet to present market-ready products, but are making great progress.


Team Ourdio
© Oliver Reetz
Johannes Knippenberg, Evangelia Kokinaki, Falk Scheller, Elisabeth Grashoff, Krishen Mertens (f. l. to r.), Ourdio

Ourdio to revolutionize audiobook production

All the teams focused on audio formats and artificial intelligence either individually or in combination. Both keywords occurred during the first pitch of the finals as Ourdio has set its sights on revolutionizing the audiobook market. The start-up can synthesize professional speakers' voices with AI. The synthetic voice can then be used for any random purpose. Audio plays can be individualized with personal information such as a name or a person's favourite food. That is particularly attractive for children, who can become the main characters in exciting adventures. The synthetic voice speaks the personalized elements of the story in a deceptively real way. Entire texts can also be turned into audio books in this manner.


Storydive's walks

Storydive also focuses on individual listening experiences and is taking audio walks to a new level. Walks accompanied by audio commentary are nothing new and are common in e.g., museums and art galleries. Storydive, however, uses cutting-edge technology to turn audio walks into experiences that differ for everyone, depending on the chosen path. Location tracking via mobile phone is used to make this possible.

Storydive has developed 20 such episodes so far, with 17 more to follow. One of Media Lift's tasks is to strengthen Hamburg as a media location. The start-up, which was previously based in Stuttgart, has opted for Hamburg now that it has been officially founded.

Team Storydive
© Oliver Reetz
Sophie Burger, Lenja Busch and Fabian Eck (f. l. to r.), Storydive
Lukas Schreiber, Anywave
© Mathias Jäger
Lukas Schreiber, Anywave

Anywave offering swift corrections for audio files

Meanwhile, the service provider, Anywave, is offering software that simplifies and standardizes correction processes. Audio files frequently undergo several correction rounds, which can be laborious and frustrating when changes requested via Whatsapp or email prove misleading, said Lukas Schreiber, founder of Anywave. 

The company's software allows users to place comments with the audio files making them much easier to assign. Those behind Anywave already run a podcast agency and are familiar with the needs of the industry. Their success saw them complete the funding scheme early.

Managing stress with Actitude 

Revising audio files may cause stress, but millions of people suffer from far more serious conditions. In Germany alone, 18 million citizens struggle with psychological stress every year, which requires treatment. However, not everyone qualifies for therapy and some may not even want it. Enter Actitude's preventive solution. Diana Huth, founder of Actitude, relies on cognitive defusion, which involves decoupling negative thoughts from one's own personality and gradually standing back from them. Actitude uses videos and podcasts and plans to offer a ten-week online course on stress management from October 2021. The start-up hopes to secure funding from health insurers.

Diana Huth
© Mathias Jäger
Diana Huth, Actitude
Victor Neumann, Zubik
© Mathias Jäger
Victor Neumann, Zubik

Zubik offering marketing strategies for everyone

The Zubik start-up does without acoustic elements and uses AI instead. The company aims to give other start-ups and SMEs an opportunity to develop professional marketing strategies using only AI. That dispenses with the need for a special task force or hiring costly external experts. At present, Zubik is collecting proper data backed by test customers to train the algorithms. The start-up aims to alleviate strategy planning and basic decisions about media and channels. Agency tasks such as concrete media plans or order processing will not be part of its offers.



nextMedia.Hamburg is an initiative of Hamburg's media and digital industry. Its goal is to expand Hamburg's leading position as a centre of media and digitalisation. To this end, the initiative promotes innovation-oriented collaboration and knowledge transfer between stakeholders through diverse schemes, events and content.  nextMedia.Hamburg is backed by the City of Hamburg, companies and innovators and is part of Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft mbH.