Media startups in Africa are increasingly getting the attention of VCs too! Following recent investments in Space In Africa, Stears, and Wee Media, investors have again gone for StarNews Mobile, the Cameroon-headquartered pan-African mobile content platform. The startup has announced investments from Africa-focused investor Investisseurs & Partenaires ( I & P) as well as from the California-based international accelerator Expert DOJO. The investment will enable the startup to build local teams in Abidjan, Douala, Johannesburg and Lagos.
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“Despite the generalization of smartphones and increasing access on the mobile internet, value-added service offers are not very ‘Africanized’ and even when it is, the content is sourced only from international players,” said Guy Kamgaing, founder of StarNews Mobile, “It was necessary to highlight this rich and original local content and allow its players to monetize it like it should be. Hence the idea of a distribution platform deployed in partnership with mobile operators.”
Why The Investors Invested
Investisseurs & Partenaires, just as Proparco, has actively been investing in startups in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2017, the investor remarkably participated in the $13.5 M Series B fundraise by the Ghana-based cleantech startup PEG Africa. The investment was then led by Blue Haven Initiative with participation from EAV, ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, Acumen and PCG Investments. Investment into StarNews Mobile is also coming on the heels of the recent launch of I&P Accelerate by the investment firm, alongside the European Union, a program designed to support the growth and development of 300 startups and small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. I & P made this investment from its I&P Afrique Entrepreneurs 2 Fund.
“We are proud to support a talented and experienced African entrepreneur who demonstrates a real commitment to deploying a pan-African solution and innovation. We share StarNews’s ambition to promote African artists and produce a greater diversity of quality local content with high added value for end users,” Nouss Bih, manager at I&P.
On the other hand, Expert DOJO is a California-based accelerator, which has invested in at least 80 startups (through pre-seed and seed investment and training), with most of its African founders coming from Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria and Egypt. Notable African startups invested into include Nigeria-based loyalty rewards startup ThankUCash; Egypt-based edtech startup Marj3; among others. Apply today to EXPERT DOJO, if you are an African founder. The accelerator makes up to $100,000 investments into national and international companies.
“When it came to StarNews’ value proposition, strong local partnerships in Africa and their focus on customer satisfaction there was no investment decision to make,” stated Mac Mahon founder of Expert DOJO, a pre-seed startup accelerator. “If we could have, we would have invested more and since that time we have been more and more impressed with how the company has over delivered on every milestone and investor promise. This is one of the companies that we are proudest to have in our portfolio and expect great things over the next two years. Founder, Guy Kamgaing, is destined for greatness.”
A Look At What The Startup Does
Founded in 2017 in Cote D’ivoire, StarNews Mobile is the project of Cameroonian Guy Kamgaing who has over 20 years of experience in the mobile telecom industry. The startup which is present in four countries, is a network of mobile video channels that allows celebrities and brands to monetize their fan bases in Africa, the world’s fastest growing mobile market. StarNews Mobile works with popular local and international stars such as Davido (Nigeria — 12.7M followers), Fally Ipupa (Congo — 3M followers) or Sauti Sol (Kenya — 2.2M followers) to create exclusive and addictive short videos that fans are eager to pay for.
The startup also allows creators to earn new income and advertisers to reach their target audiences.
Available in Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo and South Africa, StarNews will be launching in Nigeria, Senegal and other countries. The firm is working with large pan-African mobile operators such as MTN, Orange and MOOV in order to distribute exclusive and quality video content directly to users.
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