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Media The Guardian Innovation

The Guardian cosies up to startups to find the ‘next big innovation in media’


By Seb Joseph | News editor

September 16, 2016 | 4 min read

The Guardian is backing an accelerator scheme managed by Founders Factory that will look to unearth the next big innovations in media.


The Guardian cosies up to start-ups to find the ‘next big innovation in media’.

The six-month MediaTech initiative opens for applications today and builds on its original iteration, which is set to unveil its first graduates (see below). The Guardian kicked off a five year tie-up with Founders Factory in January that will see them work together to develop five startups annually and build two ideas from scratch.

  • Vidsy: A self-serve platform that lets brands commission and distribute video content from a community of 1,500 filmakers. In partnership with Founders Factory, the startup has successfully transitioned from an agency model to a marketplace and now works with he Guardian and L’Oreal.
  • Flourish: Is a technology platform that allows brands to string together multiple live data feeds to create complex data visualtions. Whilst at Founders Factory, it switched from its agency set-up to a self-serve proposition that is set to launch in October. It is now working on a number of briefs for international media and financial companies.
  • A business designed to give people ownership of their data. Its first product will allow people to license their data and attention, a proposition that has already helped attract investment from entrepreneurs such as Asos founder Nick Robertson.

George Northcott, co-founder and head of business development at Founders Factory, said: “Building a startup is incredibly hard and every founder feels major strain in terms of capital, time and expertise. At Founders Factory we’re offering the best startups access to a team of 35 technology specialists and one of the best networks in tech for funding, recruiting and business development opportunities.

“Our partnership with GMG provides founders with credibility, product-market fit and real scale using the Guardian’s significant audience access, digital media expertise and innovative models for running pilots. The success of our first cohort shows our model works, and we urge MediaTech founders to get in touch.”

While its usually advertisers eyeing up startups, it makes sense that publishers would also want to get closer to innovation. Publishing has arguably bore the brunt of the advent of digital and it is no secret that many of the traditional businesses have struggled to free themselves from legacy models in order to fully commit to new growth channels.

Alan Hudson, chief investment officer at the Guardian Media Group, said: “The news industry is in the midst of unprecedented disruption, with the advertising market, consumption habits and distribution technologies changing rapidly. It is imperative for the Guardian to remain abreast of emerging trends and new, innovative business models in the media sector. Our partnership with Founders Factory provides us with the opportunity to work with and champion startups that are both adjacent and disruptive to our sector, giving them exposure to our audience and sharing with them insights into our industry.”

Earlier this year, Founders Factory struck a similar tie-up with L’Oreal that sees the cosmetics giant look to establish the right arm's length approach to innovation.

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