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World’s first private equity impact fund for independent media is fully deployed

Photo: Colab.re / FB

New York, 10 March, 2021: Emerging Media Opportunity Fund (EMOF) I, the world’s first private equity impact fund for independent media, today announced that it is fully deployed.

Launched by Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a New York-based impact investment fund for independent media, and closed at $12.9 million in December 2017, EMOF I provides growth-stage financing to media in emerging markets that deliver high social impact. EMOF I offers companies an alternative to capital that might seek to distort or influence editorial independence, whether for political or economic gain.

“EMOF I invests in media properties with significant growth potential, built around the principles of quality independent news and information, and is already seeing portfolio companies growing audiences and delivering strong social impact,” said Harlan Mandel, MDIF Chief Executive Officer. “The fund demonstrates once again that impact investing is an effective way to support independent media and their vital role in open societies.”

The fund’s portfolio includes 10 companies in six countries where access to reliable news and information is under threat, with a focus on India, Indonesia and Latin America, and reaches a combined audience of more than 118 million people. EMOF I takes an expansive view of media and its portfolio ranges from digital news sites to social tech companies and a citizen engagement app. Investees include:

  • SHEROES, India: a social media platform for women with 22m users, providing a safe digital social space and access to information and expert advice on issues like sexual health, education and careers.
  • Colab, Brazil: a citizen engagement app connecting people with local governments, improving accountability and enabling direct communication with authorities over issues that impact on urban communities.
  • Suara.com, Indonesia: an award-winning general news website reaching nearly 60 million unique users per month that is developing local content to provide news to communities that previously had limited access to quality local information.
  • Josh Talks, India: an impact media platform that seeks to unlock human potential by inspiring, informing and upskilling young people, mobilising the youth for gender equality, sustainability and promoting business.

Investors in EMOF I include Denmark’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU), JP Politiken Hus (a leading Danish media company), Soros Economic Development Fund (SEDF) and Dutch foundation Stichting DOEN in addition to MDIF.

To ensure financial and mission alignment, MDIF has tied 100% of its profit participation to the social impact of investments. MDIF’s earnings through carried interest is conditioned on meeting a range of mission-aligned indicators, including the deficit of media freedom in the country at the time of investment, the demonstrated social impact of investee news and information throughout the investment, and a mission-aligned exit. The fund has a target IRR of 10.5% for its investors.

Read how EMOF investees are making a real difference to their communities here.

For more information contact Peter Whitehead, MDIF Director of Communications, peter.whitehead@mdif.org

About Media Development Investment Fund

Media Development Investment Fund is a not-for-profit investment fund based in New York, United States. It provides debt and equity financing supported by technical assistance to independent media companies in countries where access to free and independent media is under threat. With approximately $114 million assets under management, since 1996 MDIF has invested $240 million in 128 independent media businesses in 44 countries. Its investments help independent media around the world provide the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies.

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