MDIF Ventures invites applications for US$1M investment in digital media with impact

MDIF Ventures provides US$1M for media companies focusing on social impact. Applications are open.

MDIF Ventures invites applications for US$1M investment in digital media with impact

MDIF Ventures, an initiative of MDIF, is currently accepting applications from young and growing media companies. This program is dedicated to companies that demonstrate a positive social impact and have the potential to scale, particularly in regions where access to free and independent news is limited. The selected companies will benefit from equity financing and strategic guidance, with the application deadline set for December 10, 2023.

MDIF focuses on providing affordable financing and technical assistance to independent news and information businesses in challenging environments. Its goal is to support these businesses in becoming financially sustainable, contributing to free and thriving societies. MDIF emphasizes the importance of news, information, and debate in building informed communities.

Since 1996, MDIF has invested US$300.2 million in 149 independent news businesses across 47 countries. Their approach combines financial investment with professional guidance, aiming to create financially viable businesses that offer both financial and social returns to impact investors. MDIF's efforts have a far-reaching impact, with more than 248 million people globally accessing news from MDIF-supported clients.

MDIF Ventures has invested approximately US$1 million in 9 early-stage companies in 7 countries, including Nigeria, Pakistan, and Colombia. The program targets companies along the early-stage spectrum, from pre-seed to growth/Series A rounds, and may also make follow-on investments in existing investees. MDIF Ventures builds on the successes of previous initiatives like Digital News Ventures and the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP).

MDIF Ventures supports a variety of digital media companies, including:

  1. The Current, Pakistan: A news platform aimed at millennials, covering news, entertainment, and lifestyle.
  2. Dataphyte, Nigeria: A media, research, and data analytics company with a leading data journalism platform, multiple data-focused newsletters, an enterprise data merchandise platform, and a data training academy platform.
  3. Datasketch, Colombia: A technology startup providing data visualization tools and promoting informed debate.
  4. The Morning Context, India: A research and media company offering deeply researched, analytical long-form stories and curated newsletters.
  5. MyNews, Brazil: A media channel on YouTube with various formats, focusing on politics, economics, and finance.
  6. Nexo, Brazil: A subscriber-focused media outlet providing explanatory news on a wide range of topics.
  7. PumaPodcast, Philippines: A leader in podcasting and audio production, delivering engaging content.
  8. The Republic, Nigeria: An online magazine focusing on critical social, political, and economic issues in Nigeria and Africa.
  9. Zitamar News, Mozambique: An investigative news website and newsletter, also producing audio news bulletins in several Mozambican languages.

Eligibility for MDIF Ventures financing includes a commitment to providing unique, credible, independent news, reducing information poverty, and fostering democratic practices. Companies must be independent from government or political/economic interests and located in or serve audiences in countries where free and independent news is under threat.

Interested companies that meet the eligibility criteria can apply through the MDIF Ventures website. The application process includes providing details about the company's development stage, total round-size, and location. The application should be in English, and the assessment process may take a few weeks to months.

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