Viennese “Self-Incubator” Wunderwerk Launches New Media Venture, uncovr

Published on:

We spoke to Bernhard Seikmann, CEO, owner & founder of uncovr, about returning journalists their self-determination, for deciding which companies and press releases are relevant to their editorial work - and which are not.

How would you describe Wunderwerk in a few words?

Wunderwerk is an independent business developer of new media ventures. Arisen from the correspondent former new media agency, our ventures are based on 15 years of experience with over 200 projects for international clients. We describe ourselves as a “self-incubator”, breeding, producing and managing our own ideas, at our own risk and account.

Viennese "Self-Incubator" Wunderwerk Launches New Media Venture, uncovr

f.l.t.r. Severin Kepplinger (Digital Solution Manager), Alexander Reitter (Art Director), Jürgen Hörmann (CTO), Bernhard Seikmann (COO), Immanuel Bauer (Senior Developer), Anna-Marija Parancin (Key Account Managerin) // (c) WUNDERWERK Online GmbH / Julia Dragosits

What inspired you to create the platform? What’s your vision?

Five years ago, we started our venture “PResstige”, a cloud-based press asset management solution for PR-agencies and companies. Our approach was to generate personalized, high-quality press mailings for journalists, with 99% less memory size and generated in less than a minute instead of one hour. Within three years, PResstige became the market leading service in its field, with over 5.000.000 personalized press mailings for over 400 customers like KTM, Uniqa, Mercedes, L’Oreal and 20 leading PR-Agencies in Austria. Even though several aspects were finally liable, the main issue is that PR-communicators are still sending e-mails and flooding journalist’s mail accounts with more or less relevant information.

Our vision was, to build a portal with access to all press releases, returning journalists their self-determination, for deciding which companies and press releases are relevant to their editorial work and which are not. That’s what we are aiming at with our newest venture uncovr. We are conscious that uncovr will not change the common practice overnight, but we are confident that its unique approach offers a great service in searching press information for media, journalists, and bloggers. Regarding press releases, in the long run, the idea of uncovr is beating the pants off Google, every newswire and personal e-mail account in relevance, scope, and efficiency.

What exactly is uncovr? Which problems does uncovr solve?

Journalists get several hundred press releases every day. A good deal of the mailings is not relevant and slowing journalists down in their editorial work. On the other side, they miss much information due to incomplete mailings lists. By contrast, uncovr empowers journalists to decide from whom and which information they receive and which not.

Primarily, uncovr is an expert search engine for press releases, offering the opportunity to crawl hundreds of newsrooms from companies and PR-agencies at once. We deliver pure news for media and journalists linking directly to the source. In addition, uncovr provides a news stream from all registered newsrooms in real-time and the possibility to personalize news streams by following press releases categorized by company, themes or keyword. The main difference to present newswires is that our tool monitors content automatically and at no costs and efforts for any party. In the long run, this puts uncovr in a position to make the claim to be complete.

You’ve launched only recently. How did the launch go and how did you prepare for it?

We did not press for time and took our time to release the best possible product regarding usability and benefit. Regarding the scope, we know that we are monitoring most of the main players but are still at the very beginning. We started monitoring 800 newsrooms from Austrian companies, whereof over 300 are already using premium accounts, giving journalists more content at a glance with graphical material and short text. By the end of this year, we are confident to cover more than 1.000 newsrooms.

What was your biggest learning point in founding a company?

Our biggest learning refers more to funding than to founding. Our policy is to fund our ventures on our own, financing a new venture out of the cash flow of the present ones. This gives us the required time to develop the best product without, in many respects, money driven decisions. You don’t need a company with dozens of people to develop an idea, you need a fistful of smart but critical visionaries with entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm.

In the early stages, startups often struggle with PR. Do you have some advice for them?

Hold communication with media dear. Produce current newsworthy content about your progress and provide it to the media. In our sense, startups are communicating much too little. Most of the companies don’t even present a press contact on their webpage. Besides going online, finding investors and making an exit or probably going bankrupt once in a while, there is great interest in news about startups and their innovative products. What about new innovative features, entering new markets and your business development? So, spend some efforts of your social media engagement in press relations. Social networks are fine, but press coverage is the jackpot.

The media industry is under increasing pressure to come up with innovative business models – where do you see the future for the industry and what are some innovations it will experience in the near future?

The media industry is facing so many problems, that there is no quick answer. In the face of the decline of earnings due to mobile user shift, the rise of social networks, ad blockers and many more, editorial staff gets more and more under pressure of time and costs. Fewer people have to manage more agendas for a multitude of platforms. With and we are running two special interest media at our own cost, so we know the problems very keenly.

In my opinion, media must recapture the control of their own content. In a few words: cutting the connection to Google and social networks. The benefit of getting much traffic is out of all proportion to the amount of loss in advertising revenues, which paywalls will never compensate. Media neither funded their editorial costs through subscribers in the past nor they will in the future. Cutting the supply of content, whether free or revenue shared, means cutting most of the benefits of this media disruptive partners.

What will 2018 bring for Wunderwerk and uncovr?

We are aware, that uncovr is still at the very beginning. The next year will be affected by covering as many newsrooms from Austrian companies as possible, bringing additional services for companies which either aren’t offering a newsroom on their website or don’t do press work at all. Within the next year, we will present some new functions which are currently in development. And we consider an expansion to Germany and Switzerland as well. But all in good time – that means Austria first! 😉

As a Vienna-based startup, how would you describe the local startup scene and what can other European cities learn from it?

We would rather ask, what Vienna could learn from other cities. Our main benefits, our beautiful historic city, and culture is mainly an achievement by emperors hundreds of years ago. Our warm-hearted temper is part of our gene. The scene is well connected with a manageable amount of few but even more ambitious players. Our aim shouldn’t be to become the number one startup country in Europe at all – it’s not realistic in any way. Instead, let’s be the emperors of startups in Europe in some specific industries, offering specific skills and technologies.

What’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

Money and velocity isn’t everything. To operate without investors doesn’t mean that your product will fail. It takes pressure from outside, sharpening your concentration to stay focused on benefit, simplicity and a foolproof usability of your product. Reduce complexity wherever it’s possible. Review your idea regularly, try to improve the basic functions and don’t hesitate to mess up your original plan if you get a better idea within the development process.





Sharing is caring!