How Uganda’s eebo is helping African content creators with discovery, monetisation

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Ugandan startup eebo has developed a video platform to help creators of movies, music or educational content to get discovered and monetise.

The eebo story began in May 2019, when Austrian Agnes Aistleitner arrived in Uganda and was “perplexed” about the high cost of internet in the region, and knew instantly she had stumbled upon a problem that needed a solution. 

Proprietary “eebo boxes” were born. Each box is about the size of a desk printer, square in shape, hosts content locally, and allows users to stream the videos over its Wi-Fi signal.

“After two months of successful rollouts to universities and restaurants in January and February 2020, the world was overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing everyone into isolation,” Aistleitner told Disrupt Africa.

The pandemic forced eebo to adapt, with the startup changing strategy by focusing on creator acquisition on its online streaming platform. Aistleitner said the switch had been a game-changer.

“We have grown from a free streaming platform only available in selected locations within Kampala to a marketplace for content creators to sell their original productions, earning per transaction, with multiple payment platform integration, and access to real-time insights from the palm of their hand,” she said.

Pre-eebo, there was no way for African content creators to monetise their music videos, vlogs, movies, documentaries or TV shows, with the exception of YouTube, video retailers or airing on a TV station. 

“This meant a lot of quality productions were accumulating dust in storage waiting for the day a buyer would walk in and stumble upon them,” Aistleitner said. “eebo is a digital video library that allows creators to continuously showcase and sell their works.”

Whereas YouTube requires users to have a minimum amount of subscribers and watch time to be eligible for monetisation through advertisements, eebo instead allows content creators to get paid per transaction, instantly monetising their clientbase. For those opting to show their creations for free on eebo, the platform is looking to develop an advertising option.

Aistleitner said she was pleased with uptake over the course of the last year, and eebo is now working on building upon its strong start. Though pleased with progress, she said the eebo team still has a lot of experimentation to do as it tries to figure out how to provide value to creators and audiences that are willing to pay.  The startup received some angel funding in July 2020 from a pool of international tech investors, and is now working to raise another round as it looks to grow.

“We are a global streaming company available to users all over the world. Some of our successful creators are from Nigeria because of the option to transact in US dollars, which are globally understood,” said Aistleitner. 

“Uganda may have the biggest number of creators and users, but we are working on integration of mobile money in Kenyan shilling, Nigerian naira, and Rwandese franc to be on track to have all major currencies around Africa by the end of 2021.”

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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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