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Meet the 12 startups launching from Fishburners and Google News Initiative Bootcamp

Fishburners, Australia’s original startup community, has completed the first-ever Google News Initiative Startups Bootcamp (GNI) in Australia and New Zealand, producing twelve successful media startups. 

The nine-week program supported aspiring news media entrepreneurs in Australia or New Zealand with seminars, one-on-one coaching, and access to the GNI Startups Playbook, published in partnership with leading practitioners in the entrepreneurial news space. 

Participants also received a complimentary one-year Pro Membership to Fishburners Founders Hub, which offers startup perks, community connections, resources, mentoring, events, and investor connections. 

The program launched globally in 2020 and has graduated over 50 news media startups across North America and Canada. Martin Karafilis, CEO of Fishburners, said the program aims to elevate a greater variety of diverse voices and perspectives in the media landscape.

Shilpa Jhunjhunwala, Head of ANZ News Partnerships & APAC Program Management of Google, said the program supports Google’s mission of helping to create a diverse and innovative news ecosystem in Australia and New Zealand.

The Google news initiative

Google launched the Startups Boot Camp for the Google News Initiative (GNI) in Australia and New Zealand.

The Boot Camp, a professional development programme, takes pre-launch or early-stage news entrepreneurs from idea to launch in just nine weeks. 

Since the program’s global introduction, more than 50 start-up newsrooms have graduated, with the founders hailing from various backgrounds as professional journalists, active citizens, and entrepreneurs.

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. 

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 has 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 specialists 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.” 

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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