FutureBook: Not-yet-famous five vie for Start-Up of the Year award

FutureBook: Not-yet-famous five vie for Start-Up of the Year award

FutureBook celebrates start-ups that are making a unique impact on the book publishing industry. Over the past few years, the judges have rewarded both high-growth start-ups and smaller players transforming the business of books. Previous winners include Reedsy, Kadaxis, Unrd, The Pound Project and MyVLF.

The start-ups on the 2020 shortlist come from all areas of publishing. Representing education and learning, Perlego puts e-books into students’ hands, and StoryPack helps professionals learn from business writers. StoryTerrace supports people to tell their life stories, while lifestyle publisher Onwe champions new voices. Finally, behind the scenes, Proofcheck fixes typos, saving publishers’ blushes.

Last year’s award went to MyVLF for its virtual literary festival. With a mission to connect readers and authors without the need to travel to literary events, MyVLF’s welcoming online space proved essential in 2020, when scores of festivals were cancelled and publishers and writers struggled to promote their books.

The co-founders (authors Gwyn GB, Kelly Clayton and Deborah Carr) said that FutureBook raises the profile of digital solutions and showcases innovation. They said: “Winning the FutureBook start-up award was a fantastic vindication for us that all the hard work we had put into MyVLF was going to serve the publishing industry and authors. We had no idea then that our online book festival site would be so needed and become so pertinent. In the year since then, we’ve helped hundreds of authors to reach new readers.”

So who will be crowned FutureBook Start-up of the Year 2020? As the newest businesses in publishing, the contenders for this year’s award show that even in the toughest of years, new ideas can thrive and grow. The shortlisted companies in alphabetical order are:

Onwe is an independent publisher and lifestyle brand that disrupts the creative industries by amplifying diverse voices. Sharing unique stories, it creates books that stay with you for a lifetime.

Perlego, an e-book subscription service for students, has seen significant user growth in 2020. Providing access to more than 480,000 titles from 3,000+ publishers, it targets the market traditionally lost to piracy.

Proofcheck is the newest company—in fact, it’s still in beta. Its machine-learning web app scans PDF proof pages looking for errors, mistakes and inconsistencies, promising “no more embarrassing typos!”

StoryPack helps busy professionals learn from business experts and colleagues through short stories and case studies. Its recently launched app is a story-powered microlearning platform for the modern workforce.

StoryTerrace turns life stories into beautiful books at scale. Using hundreds of professional writers, an in-house editorial team and proprietary software, StoryTerrace helps ordinary people to record their life story.

Watch the five finalists pitch their vision and share their creativity, market opportunity and business model. It’s going to be a tough one to call. That’s why we are throwing open the judging to attendees of Futurebook 2020. For the first time, the decision is yours!