The Pearl Dream providing diaspora Africans with taste of home

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The Pearl Dream is gaining traction providing Africans in the United States (US) with subscription-based African stories via its app, but is slowly building its presence in Africa itself.

Formed in 2013 by Franco Abott, who grew up in Kenya, and Ugandan Brian Asingia, The Pearl Dream looks to connect African storytellers to a global audience by bringing content creators together on its DreamAfrica app, which is filled with animated, audio recorded and illustrated African stories.

“We are connecting the world through culture in the form of the old tradition of African storytelling. Storytelling can be a positive force to break down barriers and bring people together,” Abott told Disrupt Africa.

The self-funded startup, which has a subscription-based revenue model allowing users to access stories on any device, is focusing initially on the US market, particularly on Africans in the diaspora with children they wish to bring up with cultural awareness of their African traditions.

The Pearl Dream has already landed a number of paying customers, but its focus is still on getting into more schools, increasing content and building its user base in order to increase market share and brand value.

That said, the startup has already made inroads into Africa itself.

“We are already in Africa through pre-installation partnerships with companies like Alltel and distribution partnerships like Library For All. We also are already building a team of ambassadors in East Africa and working on a partnership in Mozambique,” Abott said.

Marketing efforts are intense as the company looks to attract more users, he said.

“We tirelessly look for people who believe what we believe knowing that they will share it with other people in their lives who share the same beliefs. We do this through social media campaigns, events and direct educational programmes in schools in collaboration with teachers,” Abott said.

“We believe in the value of bringing people together and only use technology to bridge the physical distance to connect people from different parts of the globe. We continue to reach out to schools and participate in e-learning initiates to truly build a more culturally-aware society.”

Abott said DreamAfrica already has twice the number of stories any of its competitors have, and is continuing to enroll new authors and content creators.

“By expanding our app ecosystem to content creators all over Africa, we believe that getting at least one author from each of the 54 African countries will be our first major milestone towards our goal,” he said.

The appeal of the service, according to him, is huge.

“Kids enjoy quality time with their parents, grandparents and teachers. From reading to connecting with their culture, kids unlock the magic of Africa. They relive the past, celebrate the present and help create a future filled with timeless African stories.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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