African content video streaming startup Wabona has been shut down, due to the failure to raise follow-on funding and uncertainty in the African video-on-demand (VoD) space.
Wabona co-founders Simbarashe Mabasha and Simukayi Mukuna announced the platform would be closed at the end of July, with the website shut down and refunds issued to customers in the days that followed.
“We have done our best to keep our dream alive but the reality is that we cannot keep walking this journey,” the co-founders said.
“We have had an amazing experience sharing Wabona with you. We still believe in the ideals of building African and Afrocentric content experiences and we have had the privilege of being one of the first businesses to bring African content to a global audience on multiple platforms,” they said.
According to Mabasha, the main reasons for the closure were a failure to secure follow-on funding, and difficulties in developing sustainable business models in the African VoD space.
“The long and the short of it was the fact that we couldn’t raise follow on funding and the market is changing so fast. African VoD services are still struggling to find the best business model and there is a platform bubble. In this kind of operating environment it became very hard for us to get long term funding,” Mabasha told Disrupt Africa.
Nonetheless, the Wabona team remain committed to promoting African content, and Mabasha says he is already working on the concept for a new project.
“I’m still convinced that Africa has great potential for video content centric media companies,” he says.
In April, Disrupt Africa published an exclusive guest post by Mabasha, in which he speaks about the opportunities available for those launching startups in Africa, advice on how to make the most of them, and highlights some of the key challenges faced by African entrepreneurs. Read his post here.