Called The 'BuzzFeed Of Africa,' OMG Digital Has Raised $1.1M In Seed Funding
Based in Ghana, OMG Digital was launched in February 2016 and was very quickly labeled the "BuzzFeed of Africa."
The company was founded by three college friends, Jesse Arhin Ghansah, Prince Boakye Boampong and Dominic Mensah.
The popular site already boasts 4.5 million monthly readers across Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, and now the team plans to take their site across the continent, publishing, as Ghansah calls it, "content that African millennials like us would love to consume" for people everywhere from South Africa to Uganda.
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How are they going to do it?
With the $1.1 million they've recently received in seed funding, according to TechCrunch.
Fresh off a stint at the prestigious Y Combinator, the young men have gathered a diverse band of financial supporters that include Macro Ventures, Comcast, Soma Capital, Kima Ventures and a bevy of angel investors.
OMG got its start when smart phones began to become popular in Ghana.
Ghansah says he loved his phone, and loved going online, but while "BuzzFeed and Mashable were doing things for millennials, but we couldn't really relate to their content, so we created something for ourselves."
Their fellow millennials loved what the trio was doing, and the site has grown steadily since then.
The company's team has grown a lot, too. Once composed of only three people, OMG now has 25 employees that include artists, videographers and writers.
One challenge that OMG has faced in expanding, and perhaps one reason sites like BuzzFeed haven't done better there, is that Africa is not a monolithic place. A piece that's a viral hit in Ghana won't necessarily resonate with a South African audience.
"There are a lot of cultural nuances and differences, but in some countries, there are some similarities,” Ghansah said. “Like Ghana and Nigeria are close in terms of culture, so it’s easy to create content for both of them. Kenyans and Tanzanians have similar cultures as well, so we are trying to tackle [expansion] just by going into the countries we are already in and finding the next closest market in terms of culture."
Another challenge is the linguistic hurdle pan-African media companies must jump.
For now, most of OMG's content is in English; however, to conquer the continent, the company will have to begin producing content in French, Arabic and hundreds of other languages. The new infusion of capital will be used to help the team with that problem as well.
The hope is to one day have an OMG office in every country on the continent.
To get there, $1.1 million — as large a sum as that is — won't be enough.
To raise more money, OMG plans to invest heavily in its marketing and advertising departments. The company has partnered with Huawei and Coca Cola among others, and plans to produce advertising in a method similar to BuzzFeed, but in a way that is, of course, tailored to the African market.
"We want to pioneer content advertising in Africa with major brands and it's going good so far," Ghansah said. "Brands are starting to get it and the next two years will be huge for us."
Congratulations and good luck to these pioneers! If you'd like to have a look at their work, visit OMG Voice.