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Fishburners names 10 ideas for its new media program

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Sydney startup hub Fishburners has chosen 10 ideas for the inaugural Google News Initiative (BNI) startups bootcamp

The nine-week professional development program provides support and coaching to aspiring news media entrepreneurs for independent journalism, with entrepreneurs such as Sinorbis CMO Vijay Solanki, BindiMaps co-founder Tony Burrett and Stem Media co-founder Emily Dawson providing one-on-one coaching.

It marks the first time the program has been held in Australia and New Zealand since its global launch in 2020 amid Google’s battle with the Australian government over paying the media for news under the News Media Bargaining Code. While the debate raged over the policy, Google at the time claimed that YouTube would be wiped out and threatened to shut down its search capability.

While the legislation was passed in 2021 and forced both Meta and Google to the negotiating table, the tech giants have been making deals with bigger media players while viewing smaller, independent media organizations as ghosting.

The 10 companies chosen for the BNI program will receive a free one-year pro membership to Fishburners Founders Hub, which provides access to startup benefits and discounts worth up to $200,000, as well as community connections, tools, resources, mentoring, events and investors connections. Founders also get access to a curriculum based on the GNI Startups Playbook.

Alan Jones, interim CEO of Fishburners, said the candidates were chosen because they best reflected the diverse voices targeting underserved communities.

“We are excited to be part of the startup journey for these aspiring news entrepreneurs who come from such a wide range of backgrounds and have such unique, inspiring and important stories to tell,” he said.

“The Australian news media landscape in particular can really benefit from this greater diversity of voices and perspectives. By the end of the bootcamp, these participants will have a better understanding of their commercialization model and who their audience is, as well as more informed expectations of the industry.

“BNI alumni from other parts of the world have changed the story, gained recognition and restored trust within their communities. Our AUNZ cohort is in good company and we can’t wait to see them take their ideas to the next level.”

The chosen startups for the ANZ BNI program are:

  • Mrs migrant: A media company dedicated to ambitious young migrant women to inspire them to choose a career with great potential and impact in business.
  • The anchor: A short animated news channel that delivers bite-sized news packs across multiple social media platforms, with a comedic twist.
  • Nude: Emerging website dedicated to news about the sexual wellness and sextech space in New Zealand.
  • Defragmenting: A platform that explores the intersection of technology, business, politics and science.
  • Informed: A digital news and community information service for the Upper Central Coast.
  • NF. Writer: An online magazine for women of color, featuring high-impact photography and beautiful visual design.
  • Sikh Media Project: A media startup exploring issues affecting the Australian Sikh community, targeting people of Sikh and non-Sikh backgrounds.
  • Zero to do: A platform that transitions millennial Web2 founders to Web3 through short educational content.
  • AgTech conversations: A technology-focused agricultural resource to help improve basic and product knowledge.
  • Talking twenties: A platform that will examine various issues that people in their twenties struggle with.

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