MDIF Ventures builds on the success of our Digital News Ventures fund, which from 2012 to 2015 invested $3.8 million in early-stage digital media companies, 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. The deadline for the first round of applications is 21 June 2021. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.