MDIF Ventures invests in young and growing media startups with a positive social impact and the potential to scale. It focuses on projects located or serving audiences in countries where access to free and independent news and information is under threat.
What is MDIF Ventures?
- MDIF Ventures builds on the success of our Digital News Ventures fund, which from 2012 to 2015 invested $3.8 million in digital media startups, many of which have graduated to other forms of MDIF financing. It also draws on the more recent successful work of the South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP) and the Southeast Asia Technical Assistance Initiative (SEATAI), where MDIF funded ventures through a mixture of investments, grants and technical assistance.
- Most MDIF Ventures equity investments will be made in media companies located in countries where access to free and independent news and information is under threat, but in exceptional cases, it will also consider global projects with a demonstrated benefit for audiences in those countries. MDIF Ventures will invest in projects aimed at addressing accountability, strengthening debate, or reducing information poverty.
- The MDIF Ventures equity financing will target companies along the early-stage spectrum, from pre-seed (“friends and family” and angel rounds) through to participating in growth or Series A financing rounds. MDIF Ventures may choose to do follow-on investments in existing investees.
- MDIF Ventures will deploy $1 million across approximately 12 companies in 2021.
MDIF Ventures will invest in the form of equity in projects aimed at addressing accountability, strengthening debate, or reducing information poverty. Consequently, the applicant – an existing media company or its founders in the case of a startup – must meet the following criteria:
- Applicants must have a commitment to the provision of unique, credible, independent news, reducing information poverty, addressing accountability, or strengthening debate in the public interest.
- Applicants must have a commitment to the fostering of democratic practices and institutions, political pluralism, transparency, human rights, and dignity and equal rights for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion and other subjects of discrimination.
- The applicant’s ownership must be independent from the government or any other political or economic interests. This condition may be waived with respect to an applicant where the level and nature of such ownership do not put the applicant’s editorial independence in question.
- The project must be located or serve the audience in countries where access to free and independent news and information is under threat. MDIF Ventures is not able to consider entries from Russia.