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StarNews Mobile Secures $3M to Connect African Content Creators and Mobile Users


StarNews Mobile, an African mobile video network, has raised $3 million in pre-Series A funding to further its mission of providing monetisation platforms for African content creators. Founded in 2017 by Guy Kamgaing, StarNews partners with telecom operators to distribute creators’ content via subscription to mobile users.

Currently active in 6 African countries after starting in Cameroon, StarNews has over 4 million subscribers and a community of 120+ creators. Kamgaing drew inspiration from his ten years in content monetisation, including text campaigns with mobile operators. He realised creators lacked monetisation despite joke and horoscope platforms proving it was possible.

StarNews offers creators their own channels and works closely to provide financial support, content production assistance, and digital coaching. The startup has organically grown its user base through collaborations with major operators like MTN and Orange for distribution and sign-ups. Users get localised content and pay via airtime bundles weekly/daily plans across six networks.

Beyond creator content, StarNews features hyperlocal topics and genre-specific shows like AFCON football and a singing competition. Leveraging telecom partnerships has driven major user acquisition for these programs. For example, exclusive 2021 AFCON content attracted 600,000 new users. Sponsoring concerts has also drawn subscribers, like 500,000 who signed up for a Fally Ipupa show access chance.

This demonstrates the power of StarNews’ collaborations where telecoms lead user acquisition, creators provide content, and the platform oversees distribution, monetisation and production. In 2022, StarNews distributed $1 million to creators with ~$70,000 average monthly payouts. The new funding will expand support and payouts for creators.

StarNews has seen high retention in Nigeria, the optimal growth market given strong engagement, stickiness and monetisation. Its internal billing rate metric, indicating airtime availability to pay for services, is 3x higher in Nigeria than in Francophone markets.

The $3 million round was led by Africa-focused VC Janngo Capital, with other investors, including French soccer stars with shared African heritage and interest in engaging African audiences and startups.

Janngo founder Fatoumata Bâ emphasised StarNews’ strategic positioning, partnerships, tech and content. She believes StarNews can capitalise on Africa’s $20 billion creative industry potential. Investor Aurelien Tchouameni views StarNews as a bridge to the diaspora and wants to connect with African audiences.

With the new funding, StarNews aims to expand its dominance in Francophone Africa and enter key markets like Nigeria and Ghana. The goal is 11 total markets by 2023. Founder Kamgaing identifies the massive opportunity in Africa’s underserved creator economy. The capital can spur creator support and payout increases to bolster the creative industry.



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