MDIF Ventures Opens Second Round of $1 Million Investment in Young Media Companies

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Harlan Mandel
Chief Executive Officer, MDIF

The New York-based Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a non-profit investment fund that supports independent news outlets in countries with a history of media oppression, has announced that its subsidiary, MDIF Ventures, has opened a second $1 million investment round in young and growing media companies with a positive social impact and potential to scale.

In June 2021 MDIF Ventures opened its first call for applications from early-stage media companies. At close two months later, more than 200 independent media from dozens of countries had applied. Of those, eight companies from seven countries went on to secure investment and venture support to help accelerate their business development.

Majka Nemcova, MDIF Chief Operating Officer, said “The quality of applications in the first call and the clear need for early-stage media financing have led us to launch another $1 million investment round. Again, we are looking for dynamic media companies that are showing social impact and strong signs of progress in challenging environments.”

Geographically, MDIF Ventures has made its initial investments on a global scale, with three in Africa, three in Asia, and two in Latin America. This expansion has allowed the organization to venture into new territories like Mozambique and Pakistan, broadening the scope of its portfolio. Petra Nemcova, MDIF’s representative, expressed optimism for the second round of investments to further increase their reach.

MDIF Ventures also provides an opportunity for MDIF to consider companies in earlier stages of development than its regular portfolio. Media enterprises at various stages, ranging from pre-seed funding to growth or Series A financing rounds, are eligible to apply for support.

The second round of MDIF Ventures maintains a dual focus on generating positive social impact and identifying businesses with significant potential. The program encompasses a diverse array of business models and approaches to information-sharing. Bilal Randeree, the MDIF Programme Director for Africa & MENA, highlighted the diversity of approaches taken by the supported companies. For instance, Dataphyte, a data journalism leader in Nigeria, employs innovative processes and tools to conduct impactful investigations. The organization’s investigative work has been republished by both local and international publications, inspiring Nigerian journalists to cover corruption more extensively and amplifying the impact of Dataphyte’s efforts.

MDIF Ventures operates by making equity investments in projects that aim to tackle accountability issues, promote robust public discourse, or combat information poverty. Consequently, the eligibility criteria for applicants, whether they are existing media companies or startup founders.

Interested applicant must demonstrate a strong commitment to providing unique, credible, and independent news that contributes to reducing information poverty, addressing accountability, or enhancing public debate in the interest of society.

He/she must exhibit a dedication to fostering democratic practices and institutions, political pluralism, transparency, human rights, and equal rights for all individuals, irrespective of factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and other forms of discrimination.

It is essential that the applicant’s ownership structure remains independent from governmental or other political and economic interests. However, there may be circumstances where this condition could be waived, provided that the level and nature of such ownership do not compromise the applicant’s editorial independence.

The proposed project should either be located in or cater to audiences in countries where the access to free and independent news and information is currently threatened. Notably, MDIF Ventures cannot consider applications from Russia at this time.

For more information, visit https://www.mdif.org/mdif-opens-second-1-million-investment/.