Digital News Ventures

Digital News Ventures® makes seed investments in news and information start-ups.

It fosters innovation in the creation of useful news and information, investing in entrepreneurs who are creating the platforms, tools and services that news businesses need to be viable in the digital age.

MDIF has long been active in the digital media space, financing some of the most respected and successful online news sites in the developing world, including and South Africa’s M&G Online. Digital News Ventures is the next evolution of that investment strategy. It extends the scope of MDIF’s activites beyond media companies to include platforms, tools, and services that news businesses need to be viable in the digital age.

Digital News Ventures invests in start-ups that solve problems related to the creation and dissemination of news and information, particularly:

  • Business models for producing credible, useful news and information.
  • Tools that help the editorial and content-creation process.
  • Products that contribute to the viability of news operations.
  • Platforms that generate and disseminate data and information constructed by the public.
  • Services that help make sense of the onslaught of online information, including reporting on the social web.
  • Viable, independent digital news outlets, especially in frontier markets.

Global fund with focus on emerging markets

Digital News Ventures is a global, mission-oriented fund. Although there are no limits to where it invests, its primary focus is projects located in, or with particular application to, emerging and frontier markets. MDIF believes that everyone has the right to access and share news and information – this right is critical to developing and sustaining open societies.

When making investment decisions, Digital News Ventures does not simply assess financial returns. It also takes into account how potential investees can help solve some of the critical challenges facing news media. This philosophy enables Digital News Ventures to invest in projects with moderate scaling opportunities if they are likely to have a high impact on sustaining news businesses or building open societies.

Digital News Ventures fund is now closed.

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The launch of NewsDay in June 2010 was a landmark in Zimbabwe’s recent history: it ended President Robert Mugabe’s seven-year control of daily news.

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