MDIF Announces First Two Equity Investments in Africa

Bilal Randeree
MDIF’s Program Director for Africa & MENA

The Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a non-profit investment fund for independent media, has announced its first two equity investments of $100,000 each on Dataphyte, a Nigerian media startup, and Zitamar News, an English-language investigative news website and newsletter focused on Mozambique.

Media Development Investment Fund through its MDIF Ventures, will invest $1 million fund in young media companies with positive social impact serving audiences in countries where access to free and independent news and information is under threat.

Bilal Randeree, MDIF’s Programme Director for Africa & MENA, said: “We are delighted to have made our first investments in Dataphyte and Zitamar News, two highly impressive media companies that provide important services to the people of Nigeria and Mozambique,” adding, “We will be announcing further MDIF Ventures investments in the coming weeks, financing that will help the next generation of mission-focused media entrepreneurs build companies that are high-impact and sustainable,” he concluded

Responding to the award of the fund, Joshua Olufemi, CEO and founder of Dataphyte, said: “This funding will assist the company to offer data analytics and information services to the corporate and development sectors, to realise its business model mix for data journalism, and support the government in its adoption of data and technology for public policy and good governance.”

“MDIF’s investment is a huge vote of confidence in Zitamar News at the end of a tumultuous year for the company and for us the founders,” said Tom Bowker, co-founder and editor of Zitamar. “This funding will allow Zitamar to hire the additional reporters and other staff it needs to expand its output and cement its role as the leading source of English-language news and analysis in Mozambique, as well as to contribute further to the Mozambican media ecosystem,” said co-founder Leigh Elston.

MDIF has previously made early-stage investments in leading independent media companies worldwide, including, KataData, Malaysiakini, Mic, Hashtag Our Stories, Colab, Red/Acción, Volume, and OnionDev/GramVaani. MDIF early-stage companies have reached more than 50 million people in countries such as India, Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil.

MDIF is a not-for-profit investment fund based in New York, United States. It provides debt and equity financing supported by technical assistance to independent media companies in countries where access to free and independent media is under threat. With more than $119 million assets under management, since 1996 MDIF has invested more than $255 million in 132 independent media businesses in 44 countries. Its investments help independent media around the world provide the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies.