I recently held a presentation to a group of journalists about the tech scene in Stockholm. We talked about FinTech, FoodTech, MusicTech and many other topics.
One of the journalists asked: “What about ‘NewsTech’? With so many startups in different industries, where are the startups and innovations in the news industry?”
So I did some research and found a number of interesting startups that are innovating in this space. NewsTech is not a term that is often used (yet), but let’s use it here to describe innovations in the news industry.
The news industry itself is defined as “mass media that deliver news to the public”, and it’s currently going through a massive shift. Content (and subsequent advertising and revenue) is moving to digital and online at a rapid pace. Facebook is gaining influence and becoming a primary news source for many people. Trust for the news industry is at an all time low. Yet, news is part of a $655 Billion industry in the U.S. alone, and millions of people around the world spend several hours a day following the news.
There is even a NewsTech accelerator. Digital media company The Information just opened up applications to their new accelerator that aims to support entrepreneurs “build important, sustainable subscription news businesses”.
Putting it all together we clearly see that there are big opportunities to improve and innovate in this area.
Here are 9 startups based in Stockholm that are innovating in news:
Newstag is a tech company that allows people and organisations to create their own relevant news flow. Their vision is to create the most relevant and sustainable news source in the world. In a short period of time Newstag has amassed 300.000 channels (or Tagstreams as they call them) in more than 200 countries, and has received several awards for their work. They have unique partnerships with the largest news sources in the world such as CNN, AP and CCTV in China. More than 50% of Newstags viewers are under 35 years and 75% view the news on mobile.
There is also a strong social-impact angle to Newstag. They set aside 5% of their turnover (profit or not) to causes and research that the users of the platform allocate! It’s called the Infinite Heart program and following the UN 2030 goals. Now you can read the news and do good at the same time.
Newsvoice was released on the International Fact Checking day (2nd of April) in 2017. The idea behind Newsvoice is to adress the issue of “filter bubbles” and biases in media by involving users in the process. The app and community platform allows readers to upvote and comment on news and thereby creating a more organic newsflow. As mentioned earlier, trust for the news industry is at an all time low. Newsvoice scans and analyses news from hundreds of news sources automatically, and then turns the power over to users to upvote and comment on the most important news — thereby creating transparency and increased trust.
Newsreps connects smartphone users with news companies by allowing users to create content in real-time. Users can respond to tasks in the app or send in their own news sightings directly to the news companies. Newsreps offers a unique platform that involves the audience, creates customer engagement and allows greater insights from the time and place of events. The company has offices in the U.S., India and Sweden and has received several awards such as Digital News Initiative Awards from Google.
DopplerGO is a news and media platform that provides relevant, local news and activities in your immediate surroundings. The company gathers input from popular news sources and places them on a “smart map”. As a result you can follow news based on where they happened — like a digital, interactive local newspaper. The company also allows verified users to populate the platform with news, events, activities and more. DopplerGo is available on the App Store now.
Omni is one of the largest news platforms in Sweden. By aggregating news from thousands of sources and curating them into a custom feed Omni is having a major impact on how news is being consumed, especially on mobile. The unique element is that news stories are summarized briefly by Omni writers and are then linked to several different news outlets, allowing the readers to view the same story from different perspectives. Omni is part of international media group Schibsted and has over 500,000 readers daily.
Have you noticed that box at the end of articles that contains “other recommended articles”? Strossle makes that. By applying machine learning Strossle recommends relevant stories to the one you are currently reading. The recommendations come from a wide range of publishers who have partnered with Strossle, creating a type ecosystem where readers are passed to different sites based solely on relevance and value to the reader. Revenue is generated from ads that are mixed with the recommendations — and the partner-publishers then share the revenue. This has proven to be a successful model as Strossle is growing at a rate of 250% and generating over 100M SEK (around $10M) in revenue a year.
Klarity is fighting for greater transparency and less corruption. The company has created a platform that applies state of the art technology and crowdsourcing models to substantiate user generated reports on corruption. This data can then be provided to journalists and activist groups. By bringing light to which institutions and individuals are involved in corruption they hope to make corruption less attractive. The company is housed in the largest hub for social innovation, Norrsken House, and is funded by Norrsken Foundation.
News55 is a news platform aimed at towards older audience in Sweden. Hence the 55 in the name. The site has reached over 2,5 million pageviews/week in less than two years. News55 was founded by two media veterans and is changing the media landscape by targeting an audience often overlooked by the tech industry. The company went public in July 2017 on the Nordic Growth Market exchange.
Flightmode aims to recreate “that print feeling” to make reading news enjoyable again. By carefully curating 3 articles per day in the areas your interest, Flightmode brings quality to news consumption. The platform will be released in summer of 2017 and you can read the fascinating story, vision and mission behind the company here.