A “sexual wellness” website which promotes a phial-like dildo with which partners can “grieve the death of a lover” is among start-ups launched this week from a Google bootcamp.
The very frank Kiwi-based Nak-ed – which sets out to break taboo subjects in a “fun and engaging manner” – is one of 12 start-up publications from the 2022 Google News Initiative Startups Bootcamp held in Australia and New Zealand.
Another is Brunswick Voice, a volunteer-run hyperlocal digital-and-print news publication serving the inner-Melbourne suburb. Founder Mark Phillips says while Brunswick Voice set out to fill the gap left by the closure of all local newspapers, his vision is to create a model that can be replicated to re-establish independent and credible regional media nationally.
Nak-ed presents as 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”.
Founder Courtney Devereux says the country has a younger “invisible group” of more than 800,000 aged 18 to 29, “learning about their bodies through the eyes of men”.
“Our bodies are often marginalised, spoken for by others – particularly men – and reported on purely for the sake of profit or clickbait. 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.”
Some 12 new media publications launched from the nine-week Google News Initiative Bootcamp with start-up community and co-working space Fishburners.
Among others were:
The Defrag, 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, a tech focused podcast aimed at improving the baseline and product knowledge of farmers by explaining and simplifying agricultural tech products on the market; and
The Anchor, a short-form comedy news show aimed at educating and entertaining Gen Zs and hosted by Douglas, an animated Great Dane.
The fully remote programme offered support to aspiring news media entrepreneurs via seminars and one-on-one coaching from Sinorbis chief marketing officer 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, as well coaching and guidance from Fishburners on how to establish and grow a media startup.
The programme launched globally in 2020, with more than 50 news media start-ups across North America and Canada. This year’s was the first in Australia and New Zealand.