Digital Innovation Contest 2013 to award £175k to media startups

Lightbulb moment

Innovative startups in the publishing, advertising and TV industries have until Wednesday April 24 to apply for a £25,000 slice of IC tomorrow’s Digital Innovation Contest 2013

The Digital Innovation Contest 2013 is offering a total funding pot of up to £175,000 to startups to come up with solutions to seven pre-defined challenges.

The seven challenges fall under the following three themes: publishing (one challenge in this category is about rethinking ebooks and the other is on social and recommendation) , advertising (looking for ideas for location specific advertising, or innovation in outdoor digital out-of-home advertising brands) and television (enhanced digital content, developing TV functionality, or exploring mobile-influenced content). Interested startups can view the full details of the challenges here.

Strong ideas

“TV, advertising and publishing are experiencing a period of disruption, which also creates opportunity and so we’re very keen to see how the tech innovators will respond to the challenges,” says Matt Samsam, programme manager at IC tomorrow. “We’re looking for startups and developers with strong ideas, supported by a plan of action.”

Winners will be awarded up to £25,000 each in funding to develop innovative commercial prototypes and will run a trial with the respective challenge partner. Each successful company will also retain its full IP.

“Our contests are about creating real value for all the organisations involved, bringing together new ideas with industry experience. So along with funding, successful companies will have the opportunity to establish an early customer for their new technology, by running a trial with the relevant contest partner,” adds Samsam.

Startups that apply do not have to have an existing product or service, and the first stage of the application process only involves a simple web form and two-minute YouTube video. The only requirements are for the startup to be based in the UK, have a clear idea of the solution’s revenue earning potential, and to design a prototype solution which meets one of the specific challenges.

IC tomorrow is a Technology Strategy Board programme to support innovation and economic growth in the digital sector. Industry partners – including HarperCollins, MediaCom, Ogilvy and Samsung, among others – will support the winning solutions to develop commercial prototypes.

Deadline for applications is 12 noon on Wednesday April 24. Twenty-one finalists will be selected to go through to the second stage which will include a live pitch to a panel of judges on Monday May 20 at the Digital Shoreditch Festival.