BusinessDay

Big Cabal raises $2.3m Seed round to grow tech media audience in Africa

Big Cabal Media [BCM], a pan-African media company headquartered in Nigeria, has closed a Seed Series fundraising round at $2.3million, led by MaC Venture Capital, with participation from Luminate, Unicorn Group, Future Africa and a range of angel investors.

BCM has previously raised about $620,000 in angel and pre-seed funding between 2016 and 2020. Known for creating engaging, agenda-setting content and journalism through its online platforms, TechCabal and Zikoko, as well as its content studio and digital consultancy arms.

The new raise will allow BCM to grow its audiences, build out new technology products and further consolidate its position as one of the most important media and technology brands across Africa.

Launched in 2014, BCM is a media business covering technology and youth culture on the continent. Its publication, Zikoko, which reaches over twenty million readers monthly, reflects and amplifies the most urgent elements of youth culture in Nigeria.

TechCabal, the company’s flagship publication, covers Africa’s developing technology ecosystem, combining reporting, daily newsletters and events that draw the biggest operators and investors together.

In addition to building content and news platforms, BCM has grown its services to include Cabal Creative, an in-house content studio that has produced content for global brands such as Google, Uber, and Coca-Cola, and TC Insights, a data analytics consulting service focused on custom research, industry strategy, and digital transformation projects.

African startups raised an estimated $4.7bn in 2021, with fintech startups receiving approximately 63 percent of that volume. Digital media has not been a big part of that funding equation, despite Africa having one of the fastest-growing digital media sectors globally, with millions of Africans coming online for the first time looking for original and engaging content tailored for their needs.

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“Africa is seeing explosive growth across its tech industries, and content is a critical component of that. Today, Big Cabal Media (BCM) leads engaging conversations around innovation, entrepreneurship, culture, and all the things that matter to a dynamic, growing continent. This round will allow us to invest deeply in technology products and our own tech stack, video production arm, and growing our reach across and beyond the continent,” Tomiwa Aladekomo, CEO, Big Cabal Media, said.

Statista report shows that 60 percent of Africa’s 550m internet users are under the age of 25. Nigeria, where Big Cabal operates from, is one the largest internet markets, with over 154m people on the internet and a fast-growing tech sector that is rapidly transforming the economy.

Traditional media companies aren’t keeping up with the needs of this audience, evolving much more slowly than in America, Europe or even Asia, creating space for innovative media companies like Big Cabal to establish position ahead of competition from local players or even global brands looking to enter the market.

With media business models in flux globally, Big Cabal is as focused on business innovation as it is on content and technology. Aladekomo noted that “we’ve always seen advertising as a critical but insufficient revenue basis for a successful media business. Our thesis is that we can build high-engagement media brands in valuable niche spaces, and build products and services – like Tech Women Lagos and Jollof Road – to serve audiences, advertisers and other partners.”

According to the company, part of what this investment will fund is the development of an evolved version of Zikoko Memes, a Giphy-like product focused on African memes, gifs and images, that was first launched in 2020 and has shown great promise.

“Investing in Africa’s booming digital media sector aligns perfectly with MaC’s mission of supporting exceptional entrepreneurs building valuable technology companies that leverage shifts in cultural trends and behaviours,” Marlon Nichols, Co-Founder and Managing General Partner of MaC Venture Capital, said.

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