The founders of a new phone number privacy start-up believe that rather than making it more difficult to connect with celebrities, it could one day enable the New Zealand media to get the likes of Beyonce on the line.

Caley Wilson - a public relations veteran - and businessman Ross McConnell have developed a new way of giving media "controlled access" to the fashionable and famous.

Their web-based software, Blinder, was used and endorsed by Team New Zealand during their victorious America's Cup campaign and allowed the news-hungry media to connect relatively effortlessly with the exalted crew while they were in Bermuda.

Wilson said the idea arose out of his a frustrations when he was media manager for rugby league teams and taking endless calls from journalists wanting to speak to the likes of Sonny Bill Williams and Benji Marshall.


"I'd spend half the day chasing the talent and trying to organise interviews, texting, organising times," he said.

"I wanted to see those conversations happening but I was seeing a breakdown in the system within it," he said, referring to the obvious issues with just handing out SBW's digits.

He thought that if only there was a way of allowing media to connect with "the talent" directly on their mobiles without giving out their numbers or having them bombarded with calls.

Wilson teamed up with high school friend McConnell and they developed a system whereby a journalist seeking an interview contacts an organisation's media manager; both parties agree on a time; the journalist is sent a phone number; the interviewee and the journo are sent a reminder 10 minutes before the call, which goes directly to the celebrity's phone without revealing their actual number.

It works on regular phone lines and neither party has to download any software in order for it to work.

As well as protecting people's privacy, McConnell hoped it would spell the "death of phone-tag" and actually make it easier for media to get the interviews they wanted.

Despite only going live in April last year, Blinder's clients already include the Australian Football League (AFL), New Zealand Rugby, the 2018 Commonwealth Games organising committee, AFL teams the West Coats Eagles and the Freemantle Dockers, the Warriors, the Blues and netball's the Mystics.

One of their first clients was the AFL, whose head of communications had previously been media manager for the Australian cricket team when Shane Warne was playing, Wilson said.

"So when we met him he basically said 'I get it, I want it'."

While sport was the Blinder's initial focus, the men now believe it will one day be surpassed by entertainment clients.

So far they have signed Page 1 Management, which represents the likes of Broods, and CRS Music Management, which acts for the Naked and Famous and Brooke Fraser.

The duo are adamant about not sharing names of individual celebrities they represent but said their focus has always been global and hoped to ultimately sign clients that act for the likes of Beyonce or the Rolling Stones.

"We have already had multiple Olympic champions to Grammy winners using Blinder," Wilson said.

The pair also saw how useful it could be for people like high-profile politicians. One of their investors is also a doctor, who saw the benefits to the medical profession if, say, they had a patient who would be able to call them directly for three days but not any longer.

"Then there are a number of clients where privacy isn't even the issue. It's just the efficiency and clarity of arrangements," Wilson said.

"It's not about restricting access, it's actually about making the process more collaborative."

The pair have ambitions to apply video to their technology shortly.