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GNI Startups Lab India welcomes ten fantastic teams

For the first time, the GNI Startups Lab takes place in India. The program is aimed at independent startups from the news sector.

Echos Innovation Lab, the DIGIPUB News India Foundation and the Google News Initiative are thrilled to announce the ten early-stage news startups of the first ever GNI Startups Lab India–a sixteen-week program designed to support independent Indian newsrooms in their bid for business sustainability.

The program consists of live interactive workshops, individual team mentorships, and networking opportunities with media professionals from all over India.

The selection process

Chosen from 70+ applicants from five Indian regions, the ten news startups showcase an array of different journalism types such as investigative, broadcast, political, data and local news organisations giving a voice to underrepresented communities.

After several extensive rounds of evaluation, the selection committee analysed each applicant through different eligibility requirements to determine overall fit for the GNI Startups Lab program. In addition, criteria like language, geography, gender, content, innovation and x-factor (value-added that the startup brings to the market) contributed to ensure the diversity of the program.

Overview of the news startups

  • The startups are from several regions of India; 3 are based in the South, 3 in the North, 1 in the East, 2 in the Western and 1 based in the Northeast
  • They range in age from 7 months to under 6 years, with an average age of 3
  • Together, the companies cover a wide range of journalistic types in different languages such as English, Hindi, Malayalam, and Hurdu just to name a few
  • Gender diversity is present across the different startups having various storytellers share their unique perspectives
  • While the teams size of the startups vary from 2 to more than 20 people, the participating teams will consist of a maximum of 8 individuals

 

We’re excited to work with the GNI Startups Lab teams to help them strengthen their business and better serve their communities, starting on 20 November. GNI, DIGIPUB and Echos will bring a human-centred approach in supporting these startups, as they seek to give a voice to underrepresented communities and become the future of journalism in India.

Here are the participating news startups (in alphabetical order and in their own words):

 

BehanBox

“Our mission is to bring the voices of women and gender diverse persons center stage, as they are often relegated to footnotes in the media. Through our analysis of laws and policies combined with on ground reportage, our mission is to create useful resources for women and gender diverse persons to be equal participants in India’s democracy.”

 

 

Audience

“Our current readership is largely urban women between ages 20-40 who are interested in news, current affairs, are in academia or intending to enter into academia, NGOs and other civil society, professionals. Through our Hindi language podcasts, we are able to reach women (primarily young adults and young women) in semi-urban and rural India too.”

Coverage
National – Reach in the Union Territories of India.

Language
English

Founders

“Bhanupriya Rao is the founder of Behanbox. She has been an independent researcher and journalist writing on gender, governance and social justice. She is a passionate advocate for Open data and Right to Information and has worked globally across Asia, Africa and Europe on furthering transparency, accountability and democratic governance.”

 

Bisbo

“We convert everydays’ boring news and make them into dramatic videos, with a gripping opening, a smooth story flow sometimes going back and forth into the story to make it a movie-like experience but always sticking to the facts, the sources to which we share at the end of the video.”

 

 

Audience

“Our target audience are largely Indian adults 13+ but the core viewership of 80% is in the 18-44 age group and is 90% male dominated. The English channel gets at least 30% of its views from outside India (India, Middle East, US, UK, Indian Subcontinent are our 5 largest bases).”

Coverage
International/ Overseas – Reach outside the country.

Language
English

Founders

“Shakir Ebrahim – Serial entrepreneur in the publishing industry and an old-school businessman simultaneously running his unrelated family business. This skilled content creator, newshound, script-writer and editor is fully invested; physically, financially and emotionally; in his animated news business of the last 5 years.”

 

East Mojo

“We are a mobile-first, multimedia digital platform delivering timely, regional and contemporary news for, by, and of the region’s stakeholders. Our editorial policies prioritise accuracy over speed, voices over noise, and truth over trends, often at the cost of views, to ensure a credible product that resonates with our readers. We take pride in our extensive knowledge of the region and our capacity building efforts, which has helped create a product that stands head and shoulders above the rest.”

 

 

Audience

“Youth, professionals, academicians, politicians and the general public from the Northeast. In the past year we have seen an increase in national and international audience, especially from the East Asia region.”

Coverage
Regional – Reaches some States and Provinces

Language
English

Founders

“Karma Paljor – an award-winning journalist, co-founded Atvi Infotainment in 2018; its verticals include news platform EastMojo.com and Atvi Studios. He has worked with The Times of India, CNBC TV18 and CNN News18. He is a Chevening Scholar and Aspen fellow.”

“Tanushree Hazarika – an entrepreneur with 12 years of experience in launching and running two successful startups. She is a Business Management graduate from Boston University. She also founded the Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival. She is also an Aspen Fellow”

 

ED Times

“ED Times is a youth media publication; the No. 1 Source For In-depth News Stories That Matter To Millennials. It’s where Indian Millennials comment on news and stories around them, an opinions place by and for really young people. We believe in creating responsible news content and attempting to change the reading habits of young India. All our writers are certified in the digital journalism course by Reuters & Facebook Journalism Project.”

 

 

Audience

Indian women and men from the age of 18-35

Coverage
National – Reach in the Union Territories of India.

Language
English

Founders

“Juhi Garg – a Journalism graduate from Delhi University, a Masters in Corporate Law from National Law School of India, Bangalore and a Grade 5 western classical jazz Piano degree holder from Royal Schools of Music, London. She has worked for HBO and Cartoon Network India in communications, as well as been India Partner for one of the top 3 global consulting firms to law firms.”

 

Headline Network

“Our mission is to decentralise news media in India by tackling the asymmetric distribution of power in the hands of a few. We operate a network of Citizen Journalism platforms in Indian languages that enables underrepresented citizens to post local news and create awareness of ground level issues while creating a source of ancillary earnings in the process.”

 

 

Audience

“Tier 2 and 3 India, Common citizens looking to create awareness about local issues.”

Coverage
National – Reach in the Union Territories of India.

Language
English / Hindi

Founders

“Avinash Rogye – Director of Business and Growth – Headline Network. Former Lead Investor Relations and Partnerships – thinQ Ventures LLP, Mentor of Change AIM Niti Aayog.”

“Pakshal Lodha – Director of Platforms and Technology – Headline Network. Partner – Avanse Digital, Technology Partner – Capital Pundits Financial Services.”

“Kunal Punamiya – Director of Partnerships, Partner at Auric Bullion. AIESEC India Alumnus.”

 

Main Media

“We disseminate hyper-local rural news, often ignored by mainstream media in vernacular language. We started our pilot project in 2018 from one of India’s most backward regions – Seemanchal, which consists of Kishanganj, Purnia, Katihar and Araria districts of Bihar. It shares borders with Nepal and North Bengal. It suffers from annual flood, distress migration and apathy of authorities. We want to replicate the Seemanchal model of our coverage in other similarly backward regions of India.”

 

 

Audience

“Most of our content is in video format to make it easy even for an uneducated person to consume it. Our audience varies from young netizens to hardworking villagers sweating out in their fields to distressed migrants living far away from their families. They eagerly wait for our stories to get information about their surroundings from the source they trust. We also do research and data based stories, as well as ground reports with an aim to bring an impact in policy making for rural areas.”

Coverage
Local – Reaches my region.

Language
Hindi

Founders

“Tanzil Asif (Founder) – an alumnus of IIMC, he worked for some leading media houses in the national capital. Soon, he realised how rarely media lenses focus on backward regions. He moved to Seemanchal in 2018, to be the voice of the downtrodden. He is one of the six Indian recipients of YouTube’s Independent Journalists fellowship.”

“Umesh Kr Ray – a multilingual journalist from Bihar, joined our team to focus on research based reports. He is a recipient of NFI Fellowship 2019.”

 

Suno India

“Our mission is to be the go-to-platform for credible and well-researched multilingual audio content which is on par with international podcasts. We want to continue to shine a spotlight on under-represented and under-reported stories using audio as a medium and want to stay editorially independent.”

 

 

Audience

“We cover social issues like climate change, economics, health, gender, and society; audio-storytelling for children, career guidance and current affairs in Hindi and English. Content about social issues and English current affairs shows targets an audience composed of journalists, policymakers, bureaucrats, students, academics, and researchers living in India and abroad. The listeners for audio-storytelling for children, career guidance and Hindi current affairs shows mainly come from tier-II and tier-III cities in India.”

Coverage
International/ Overseas – Reach outside the country.

Language
Hindi

Founders

“DVL Padma Priya – an independent journalist who has written for leading media houses such as The Hindu, The Wire, IndiaSpend, and Doctors Without Borders.”

“Rakesh Kamal – has developed education and advocacy programmes for Climate Reality, founded by Nobel laureate Al Gore.”

“Tarun Nirwan – an information technology and digital media expert who consults for non-profits and research think-tanks such as George Institute for Global Health and Centre for Policy Research.”

 

The Bridge

“To put it simply – We are the ONLY sports media house fully focussed on Indian Sports, with a special emphasis on Olympic Sports like no other. Employing a wide range of textual, visual and other diverse forms of storytelling, we aim to bring all the stories and the people behind into the spotlight, thereby bridging the gap in Indian Sports. We envision ourselves as a key part of India turning into an actual sporting nation, one story at a time.”

 

 

Audience

“Our audience consists of 3 broad types: the hardcore Olympic Sports and other sports fans, who are looking to follow their favourite sports and athletes every single day and not just during Olympics; the international football fans in India, who just need a platform which can hook them up on Indian Sports in the same way; the cricket fans, that If one is a fan of one sport, they can be a fan of another sport too. In India, other sports are not as accessible in every sense. These 3 are the main primary audiences followed by topical audiences, such as when the Olympics take place.”

Coverage
International/ Overseas – Reach outside the country.

Language
English

Founders

“Ms Arshi Yasin / Mr Shuvro Ghoshal – both of them have spent a good amount of time in the social space as well as the content space before combining the two to create a social sports company. Their previous work experience includes the likes of Sportskeeda and The Logical Indian. What started as a desire to cover Indian Olympic Sports like never before is now turning into something special after 4 years.”

 

The Cue

“Our mission has always been to bring to the viewers stories that are left out or marginalized from the larger mainstream media and bring the needed impact through in-depth reporting, unique storytelling, and multimedia narrative.”

 

 

Audience

“Our main readers and viewers have been people in the age group of 18-35. One of the factors that has helped The Cue to increase its visibility is the focus it puts on youngsters, who are attuned with the digital and social media spaces and are looking for new avenues for engaging with news stories. Since we have focused on stories relating to gender violence and gender justice, women, especially middle class working women, constitute a significant chunk of our readers and viewers.”

Coverage
Regional – Reaches some States and Provinces.

Language
Malayalam

Founders

“Maneesh Narayanan – director and Editor in Chief- senior journalist with experience in print visual and digital media, having vast following on social media platforms.”

“Shukkove Raj – Director- who specialise in cocreation and management strategy”

“A P Bhavitha – assistant Editor- Senior Journalist, who specialises in the rural reporting and investigative journalism”

“Remya Raj – creative Director-who specialise in visual multimedia production”

 

The Probe

“The Probe is an independent ad-free digital news media platform. As an independent media outlet we are privileged to have unfettered freedom without external influencers be it commercial or political. Our core focus areas: Investigations, Solutions, Impact and Development. We are of the strong view that our rigour in research and investigative reporting following a solution centric approach is a great example of public interest journalism.”

 

 

Audience

“We don’t cover regular event based news stories instead we put all our might and resources into deep dive public interest journalism. Our audience:  English speaking audience that have access to the internet, who are looking for deep dive stories and original reportage is our audience.”

Coverage
National – Reach in the Union Territories of India.

Language
English

Founders

“Prema Sridevi Founder and Editor in Chief. With an outstanding track record, Prema Sridevi was part of some of the biggest news breaks of the country in a career spanning 20 years.”

“Neeraj Thakur – Senior Journalist & Director. He  has over 25 years of experience in mainstream television journalism. He has been a senior journalist reporting crime and politics for many years and has been part of coverage of many of India’s path breaking news stories.”

 

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Paulo Armi

I’m a certified Design Thinker by IDEO and have recently been accepted for the Master of Strategic Design & Innovation at the University of Sydney.
With the ability to plan and execute really great things at scale, I love creating elegant products and services that delight people and generate business results.

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