Umuntu Media receives additional $1 million funding from eVA Fund

19 SEPTEMBER 2011, CAPE TOWN/AMSTERDAM
Summary
Umuntu Media raised $1 million series A funding from Netherlands based eVentures Africa Fund (eVA Fund) as a first step to take the successful local information portals www.iNamibia.co.na and www.iZambia.co.zm to ultimately an additional nine African countries. The funds will also be partly used to build a mobile communications platform that caters for Africa’s needs. This platform will be launched in Alpha version before Jan 2012.

‘Think Local, captivate the reader and build world class platforms for Africa from within Africa’ is the success formula for Umuntu Media CEO Johan Nel: Umuntu Media raised $1 million series A funding from Netherlands based eVentures Africa Fund (eVA Fund) as a first step to take the successful local information portals www.iNamibia.co.na and www.iZambia.co.zm to ultimatelly an additional nine African countries. The funds will also be partly used to build a mobile communications platform that caters for Africa’s needs. This platform will be launched in Alpha version before Jan 2012. 

Umuntu Media has proven this concept to work with their extraordinary uptake of iNamibia and iZambia. The success comes down to truly local content: Umuntu Media employs on the ground journalists and encourages citizen journalism to publish world class local and hyper local news on their platforms.

Umuntu means ‘person’ in Ndebele and people are the core of the strategy. “We want to be the one stop content and information shop for our readers. So far we’ve established a news and entertainment section, offer the largest database of accommodation establishments in Namibia and Zambia, showcase the latest music and events and have integrated a property and job board. All this information is locally produced to create relevance, as we believe it’s the local content that counts.” explained Johan Nel.

Brian Hirman of eVA Fund: “Quality local content is still a gap in the market in Africa. It is a massive challenge, but we have the vision, we have the team and we have the guts to make this happen. We have great confidence in Johan Nel and his team. That is why we are happy to invest a second round in Umuntu Media today and will continue to invest and actively support the team in the future.”

-ends-

About eVentures Africa Fund

eVentures Africa Fund (eVA Fund) is dedicated to mobilize capital and experience in the Netherlands/Europe to invest in small and medium sized African internet and mobile related companies. eVA Fund focuses on development in terms of capital and business development support, i.e. knowledge, experience, access to proven business concepts/applications, and network.

The target region is sub-Saharan Africa. Website: www.eva-fund.com

Interesting statistics:

  • One billion people are living in Africa, four of the top ten world’s fastest growing economies in 2011 are African. In fact the African decade continues to hold sway. 2010 to 2020 is bringing massive development to the continent. For 2010, none of the top growth countries were advanced economies; only one was G20.
  • Africa’s mobile phone subscribers crossed the half billion mark in 2010. By 2015 there will be two hundred and sixty five million mobile broadband subscribers in the continent, a massive increase from the current twelve million.
  • One hundred and eighteen million internet users across the continent account for an 11% penetration rate, this grew from just over four million in the year 2000.
  • The 80 US$ IDEOS Android smartphone has found its way into the hands of 350,000+ Kenyans, an impressive sales number in a country where 40% of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.
  • 15 minutes internet browsing via your mobile or buy bread. That is the general rule and this is fundamental to never forget in content strategies. Yes, prices are dropping and cables are arriving, but this constant decision will play a role in the majority of our continent’s consumers for many years to come.
  • Local content still stays one of the biggest challenges across Africa. There is only one registered domain per 10 000 connections (not even taking mobile connections into considerations) this number in the developed world is 94 per 10 000. 
Quotes
"‘Think Local, captivate the reader and build world class platforms for Africa from within Africa’" Johan Nel, CEO & Founder, Umuntu Media
"“Quality local content is still a gap in the market in Africa. It is a massive challenge, but we have the vision, we have the team and we have the guts to make this happen"" Brian Hirman of eVA Fund
Images
Spokespeople
About Umuntu Media

Enabling local content creation and unlocking access to this content across Africa. 

We are here to help communities by making it easy for them to create and share content. Through the establishment of trusted brands (iPortals) and smart technology (Mimiboard) we aim to improve access to information and facilitate user-generated content. We are building the local-wide web and we love it.

Timeline:

  • Launched nine African content and information portals
    • Became the biggest local website in Namibia (2nd in Botswana)
    • Created one of the biggest Facebook followings of any media group in these nine countries
    • Initiated first-time digital advertising spend from many local organisations
    • Launched iAngola and iMozambique in Portuguese
  • Received the Nokia and World Bank Innovator of the Year Award 2012
  • The first African company to be selected as a finalist in the iMedia Next Wave competition (Austin, Texas)
  • Launched Mimiboard, which resulted in an additional 414 000  visitors to  our network in the first month
  • Through the use of Mimiboard, Umuntu Media reached 4,5 million visitors per month by the end of 2012 (currently 7,5 million per month)
  • Currently Umuntu Media is present in 16 African markets (iPortals and Mimiboard) – planned expansion to 25+
  • Featured in numerous articles across the world; highlights include BBC, The Next Web, iMedia connection, Memeburn

 

news