News

MDIF expands its African portfolio with investment in mobile news agency Scrolla

South African news startup Scrolla is the latest media company to secure equity investment from Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF). The mobile-first publisher specialises in a blend of high-quality, tabloid-style news and investigations.

Scrolla launched in South Africa in 2020 in both English and isiZulu, with plans to rapidly expand across the continent.

“Scrolla is a great example of African news innovation and we’re excited to join them on their journey,” said Bilal Randeree, Program Manager for MDIF’s South Africa Media Innovation Program (SAMIP). Scrolla joined SAMIP soon after its launch to focus on its digital expansion and has enjoyed impressive growth within the program over the last 18 months.

“We are proud to have MDIF as an investor. SAMIP has been hugely supportive, and MDIF’s investment will help us develop our apps and expand our coverage,” said Scrolla CEO Mungo Soggot.

Scrolla has already established itself as a formidable news publisher with growing reach on its mobile platforms.

As well as its own site, Scrolla has channels on two major data-free messaging platforms:

  • Ayoba, a data-free mobile platform hosted by MTN, the largest mobile operator in Africa;
  • Moya, a data-free messaging and payments platform that topped the Google Play Store in South Africa in 2021 with 5 million monthly active users.

Scrolla has also launched a Beta version of its own Data Lite site, enabling cost-conscious users to access local and international news with minimal or no data.

Scrolla was founded in 2019 by Mungo Soggot, an entrepreneur and former investigative journalist. The founding team includes: Phillip van Niekerk, former editor of the Mail & Guardian; Zukile Majova, former head of news for national radio station YFM; Everson Luhanga, veteran crime reporter; Toby Shapshak, tech journalist and publisher; and Garry Rogers, an African media sales expert formerly with the Daily Sun and the Mail & Guardian.

In the past year alone, Scrolla has seen 400% audience growth across all its channels and introduced new products, such as its daily isiZulu news podcast, Scrollacast. The Scrolla team has also broken major stories, including being the first to report on the death of a civilian, Collins Khosa, at the hands of South African soldiers in the first days of the country’s Covid-19 lockdown.

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

Share article

Newsletters