NIGERIA – Dataphyte, a Nigerian media startup, and Zitamar News, an English-language investigative news website and newsletter focused on Mozambique, have received US$100,000 each in seed funding, thanks to Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF).

MDIF is a non-profit investment fund for independent media in countries where free and independent media is under threat.

MDIF Ventures, a US$1 million fund managed by the Media Development Investment Fund, invests in fledgling media enterprises that have a good social impact and serve consumers in countries where access to free and independent news and information is threatened.

“We are delighted to have made our first investments in Dataphyte and Zitamar News, two highly impressive media companies that provide important services to the people of Nigeria and Mozambique,” said Bilal Randeree, MDIF’s programme director for Africa & MENA.

Launched in 2020, Dataphyte is a media and data analytics company that helps the public and private sectors produce value from data and socio-economic insights through products and services such as data journalism and data-driven investigations.

Dataphyte claims to have developed three successful businesses while simultaneously providing open data and capacity development to the media ecosystem.

“This funding will assist the company to offer data analytics and information services to the corporate and development sectors, to realise its business model mix for data journalism, and support the government in its adoption of data and technology for public policy and good governance,” Joshua Olufemi, CEO and founder of Dataphyte, said.

The company recently established DATAPLEX, its enterprise data commerce platforms, and its training school platform, in addition to creating the first data journalism specialty platform.

In November, the company established a partnership with Statista, a renowned worldwide data organization.

“The purpose for us is to apply data to respond to three existential challenges in Nigeria and Africa as a whole,” the founder of Dataphyte, Joshua Olufemi, said.

“One, lead a successful business model mix for data journalism; two, offer data analytics and information services to the corporate and development sectors and lastly to support the government in its adoption of data and technology for public policy and good governance.”

In addition, the company stated that it sponsored the development of an open data portal by the Ekiti State government as part of its commitment to working with governments to make socioeconomic and public financial data more accessible.

Adenike Aloba, Dataphyte’s managing editor, stated that the organization plans to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to fuel its journalism.

Founded in 2015 by former Bloomberg reporter, Tom Bowker, Zitamar News is a Mozambique-focused English-language investigative news website and newsletter that also creates audio news bulletins in numerous Mozambican languages to reach underserved regions.

“MDIF’s investment is a huge vote of confidence in Zitamar News at the end of a tumultuous year for the company and for us the founders,” said Tom Bowker, co-founder and editor of Zitamar.

“This funding will allow Zitamar to hire the additional reporters and other staff it needs to expand its output and cement its role as the leading source of English-language news and analysis in Mozambique, as well as to contribute further to the Mozambican media ecosystem,” said co-founder Leigh Elston.

Zitamar is published by the London-based Zitamar Ltd. and is “written and edited in Maputo and London — with contributions from a network of researchers in Mozambique, the United States, and Europe,” according to its website.

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