Over the last six months, 16 media tech startups and scaleups have been co-creating next-generation media solutions with European media corporates in the STADIEM acceleration programme. In the current batch of companies in the STADIEM program is Media Cluster member Scriptix, which develops cloud-based speech-to-text services.
What's the project you're working on in the STADIEM programme?
– We develop our speech recognition models in-house and offer to customize them to fit specific customer needs better; that's our unique selling point. Now, as we see a growing demand for these customized models – which is great, of course – we also see it putting a strain on our development capacity. All these models are developed from the ground up by our machine learning engineers, which takes quite some time. During the STADIEM program, we have partnered with Roularta Media Group to develop two baseline models specifically of interest to them: Flemish and Belgian French. Such smaller languages are typically overlooked by other vendors. On top of that, we will be developing a brand new feature that will benefit all Scriptix customers, which we like to call: Automated Speech Recognition Customization, or ASRC. With this new feature, customers will be able to train language models themselves on our platform, completely automated, says Frans Olsthoorn, CEO of Scriptix.
The STADIEM (Startup Driven Innovation in European Media) is a four-stage piloting and acceleration program to develop, integrate, and pilot one's solution. The startups in the programme can get up to €150.000 in funding to advance their media innovation. It's a highly competitive programme, with over 350 applicants over its two open calls.
What was your motivation for applying to the STADIEM program?
– Our main target market is the media industry, and we previously participated in the Media Motor Europe program. Having an accelerator program specifically tailored to the media industry triggered our interest and enthusiasm to participate. Diving into the specifics of the program, we were convinced it would fit Scriptix perfectly. The program offers the full package, from mentoring to relevant introductions and online exposure to equity-free investment, helping scaleups develop unique new products and services. The great thing is that these new products and services are co-created with a corporate partner from the start of the program. This means something is being developed based on direct input from a potential customer, says Olsthoorn.
The Develop Phase of the second cycle of the programme is now ending, with 12 startups competing to proceed to the Integrate Phase to integrate their newly developed solutions with their corporate partner.
You have now almost finished the Develop Phase of the programme. How are you experiencing the programme so far?
– We had a great time throughout the first months of the program. We have completed our project, and in the first weeks of February, we will be demonstrating the results to our corporate partner Roularta Media Group and to the STADIEM consortium. Apart from the Develop Phase, which was a challenging - albeit exciting - ride, we had a great time mingling with other participating scaleups and exchanging their experiences and thoughts. The program took us to Brussels to VRT, Slush in Helsinki, and The Big Score in Ghent. We gained valuable insights thanks to the training sessions on all business aspects. The program also gave us online exposure and credibility, resulting in a surge of interest from potential customers. We are excited about what will come next and are crossing our fingers that we will proceed to the next phase. When finally integrating, our corporate partner will start leveraging the services we developed with them, says Frans Olsthoorn, CEO of Scriptix.
Photo credit: Scriptix. Pictured centered: Frans Olsthoorn, CEO of Scriptix.