Ivory Coast-based mobile content platform StarNews Mobile has raised a US$1.8 million pre-Series A funding round to help it further speed its growth.
Launched in July 2017, StarNews Mobile targets the mass market with a network of over 50 mobile channels offering celebrity-based content priced at low daily subscription rates.
Users can subscribe to their favourite celebrities’ channel through their operator for as low as US$0.10 per day. Once subscribed, they receive a video link via SMS to watch exclusive videos daily. The revenue generated from the subscription fee is then shared between the operator, the content provider and StarNews Mobile.
The startup deployed in Ivory Coast in partnership with operators MTN and Moov, and broke the one million subscriber mark back in April 2018. Since then it has launched in Cameroon, the Republic of Congo and South Africa, with a Nigeria rollout taking place soon, and has passed the five million subscriber mark.
To spark further growth, StarNews Mobile has now raised a US$1.8 million pre-Series A funding round, featuring led by Investors & Partners and also including Expert DOJO. This comes on top of a US$600,000 seed round raised last year, and StarNews Mobile plans to raise its Series A in 2021.
“Despite the generalisation of smartphones and increasing access on the mobile internet, value-added service offers are not very ‘Africanised’ and even when it is, the content is sourced only from international players,” said StarNews founder Guy Kamgaing.
“It was necessary to highlight this rich and original local content and allow its players to monetise it like it should be. Hence the idea of a distribution platform deployed in partnership with mobile operators.”
I&P investment manager Nouss Bih said his company was proud to support a talented and experienced African entrepreneur who demonstrates a real commitment to deploy a pan-African solution and innovation.
“We share StarNews’s ambition to promote African artists and produce a greater diversity of quality local content, with high added value for end users,” he said.