Umuntu Media launches iZimbabwe and iBotswana local lifestyle portals for Africa

Two new lifestyle portals will entrench Umuntu Media's position as a major online publishing player in Africa.

14 NOVEMBER 2011, CAPE TOWN, AMSTERDAM, WINDHOEK, LUSAKA, GABERONE, HARARE
Summary
With a $1m injection from eVentures Africa Fund, online publisher Umuntu Media is adding two new portals to its stable. iZimbabwe.co.zw and iBotswana.co.bw was launched on 16 November 2011. This brings to four the number of online portals created within Africa for Africa. iNamibia and iZambia will be relaunched at the same time.

Umuntu Media is taking the next step in entrenching itself as a major online publishing player in Africa.

Having recently confirmed a $1m investment from eVentures Africa Fund (eVA Fund), the online publisher is adding two new portals to its stable. iZimbabwe.co.zw and iBotswana.co.bw was launched on 18 November 2011. The launch of the local lifestyle portals in Zimbabwe and Botswana will deliver relevant local content focusing on entertainment, property, jobs, news and so much more to users across each country.

At the same time, Umuntu will be relaunching iNamibia.co.na and iZambia.co.zm, which have both seen significant growth since their initial launch in January this year.

Umuntu CEO and founder Johan Nel explains the rationale behind the expansion: “The tremendous growth of iNamibia and iZambia from a standing start in January has taken us to the next evolutionary step, as we now launch iZimbabwe and iBotswana.

“Now is an exciting time for Africa and also for Umuntu, which we can see in the uptake of our local content portals. We are looking forward to the next phase in which we will be aggressively rolling out seven more portals by April 2012.”

The growth of the iPortal model has brought forward significant opportunities for Umuntu. With mobile as a huge force in Africa, Umuntu will soon be launching Mimiboard, a mobile communications platform, created in Africa, for Africa, designed to cater for Africa’s local content needs.

Brian Hirman, from eVA Fund, expresses support for Umuntu Media's latest releases: "We started the Umuntu Media journey with Johan Nel about a year ago. It is unbelievable to experience what he and his team have achieved since then. With a firm belief in his dream and with tremendous drive and passion, Johan drives this media company towards a bright future. I'm convinced that Umuntu Media will become a major digital media player in Africa, offering African content and solutions for Africans and by Africans."

This project further reinforces Umuntu’s mission to “think local, captivate the reader and build world class platforms for Africa from within Africa.”

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Quotes
"The tremendous growth of iNamibia and iZambia from a standing start in January has taken us to the next evolutionary step, as we now launch iZimbabwe and iBotswana. “Now is an exciting time for Africa and also for Umuntu, which we can see in the uptake of our local content portals. We are looking forward to the next phase in which we will b.e aggressively rolling out seven more portals by April 2012" Johan Nel, CEO and Founder, Umuntu Media
"We started the Umuntu Media journey with Johan Nel about a year ago. It is unbelievable to experience what he and his team have achieved since then. With a firm belief in his dream and with tremendous drive and passion, Johan drives this media company towards a bright future. I'm convinced that Umuntu Media will become a major digital media player in Africa, offering African content and solutions for Africans and by Africans." Brian Hirman, eVA Fund
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

 

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