Fri, 27 Jan 2023

SYDNEY, Dec. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Australia's original startup community Fishburners has concluded the first ever 2022 Google News Initiative Startups Bootcamp (GNI) to be held in Australia and New Zealand, with twelve successful media startups emerging from the nine-week program.

Some of the most promising media startups that sought to amplify a range of diverse communities and voices include:  

  • Nak-ed is New Zealand's first women's lifestyle publication for sexual wellness, sexuality, diversity, inclusion, and mental health, aimed at breaking taboo subjects in a fun and engaging manner.
  • Brunswick Voice is a volunteer-run hyperlocal digital news publication, servicing the inner Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, with the vision of creating a model that can be replicated to reestablish independent and credible regional media nationally.
  • The Defrag is a news and analysis publication exploring the intersection of technology, business, politics, and science in a way that is not US-centric. 
  • Ag Tech Talks is a tech focused podcast aimed at improving the baseline and product knowledge of farmers by explaining and simplifying agricultural tech products on the market. 
  • The Anchor is a short-form comedy news show aimed at educating and entertaining Gen Zs and hosted by Douglas, an animated Great Dane. 

The fully remote professional development program offered support to aspiring news media entrepreneurs in Australia or New Zealand, via seminars and one-on-one coaching from Sinorbis CMO Vijay Solanki, BindiMaps co-founder Tony Burrett, and Stem Media co-founder Emily Dawson

Participants received access to a curriculum based on the GNI Startups Playbook, published in partnership with leading practitioners and thinkers in the entrepreneurial news space, as well coaching and guidance from Fishburners on how to establish and grow a media startup. 

They additionally gained access to a complimentary one-year Pro Membership to Fishburners Founders Hub, offering startup perks and discounts, community connections, tools, resources, mentoring, events, and investor connections.

The program has been held for the first time in Australia and New Zealand since launching globally in 2020, with over 50 news media startups having already graduated from the program across North America and Canada. 

Fishburners CEO Martin Karafilis
Fishburners CEO Martin Karafilis

Martin Karafilis, CEO of Fishburners, said: "While the barriers to entry for new media startups are now lower than ever, more competition from alternative platforms and decentralised content creation have made the barriers to success and building a large sustainable audience increasingly higher. Without new media startups, Australia faces a lack of diversity and representation, causing further disengagement with independent and credible media. 

"With so many specialist and local businesses building back after lockdown, there are plenty of opportunities for smaller startups in particular to service the needs of local and specific audiences. 

"We hope that with the GNI Startup Bootcamp coaching, these new media startups will go on to take the media landscape by storm, and help to elevate a greater variety of diverse voices and perspectives."     

Shilpa Jhunjhunwala, Head of ANZ News Partnerships & APAC Program Management of Google, said:  "New and diverse voices play an important role in the news ecosystem, offering diversity in the stories told and filling information gaps. The curriculum was adapted specifically to address the realities of operating in Australia & New Zealand and supports our mission of helping contribute to a thriving, diverse and innovative news ecosystem in both countries. We're pleased to see so many new media startups emerge from this program and look forward to watching them develop." 

Courtney Devereux, founder of Nak-ed, said: "Nak-Ed Magazine is New Zealand's first and only publication for women on sexual wellness and sextech news. 

"Women make up more than half of the global population, but are often referred to as an 'invisible group' when it comes to sexual wellness. Our bodies are often marginalised, spoken for by others - particularly men - and reported on purely for the sake of profit or clickbait.

"In New Zealand alone this younger 'invisible group' of women aged 18 to 29 makes up over 800,000 individuals. That's a lot of women learning about their bodies through the eyes of men. Nak-Ed is here to change that, and through in-depth, women-led reporting we aim to add another level of education for our growing population of empowered women." 

Mark Phillips, founder of Brunswick Voice, said: "Brunswick Voice grew out of a frustration at the lack of availability of local news and information and aims to fill the gap left by the closure of all local newspapers in this vibrant and diverse suburb.

"Local media plays multiple roles in fostering democratic accountability and encouraging social connections. Audiences want local knowledge, intimacy, trust, and connections. Local advertisers want a platform to connect directly with their immediate marketplace.

"My goal is to establish Brunswick Voice as an ongoing publication that can belong to the community here, but I also believe there is potential for this model of citizen journalism to be adopted elsewhere." 

Fishburners (www.fishburners.org) is Australia's original startup community and coworking space. It was founded in Ultimo in 2012 and has supported 2,300 founders who have raised $368 million in capital, generated $378.8 million in revenue, and created 5,300 jobs.

It was one of the biggest anchor tenants of the Sydney Startup Hub, and now also has thousands of active users of its Founders Hub online community platform.

Notable Fishburner ventures include Koala (valued at $159 million in 2020), ASX-listed Jayride ($46 million market cap), V2 Foods (valued at over $500 million in 2020), and Car Next Door (valued at $55 million in 2021 and recently acquired by Uber).

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