OMG Digital, the BuzzFeed of Africa, raises a seed round of $1.1M

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Dominic Mensah, Prince Boakye Boampong, and Jesse Arhin Ghansah, the founders of OMG Digital

OMG Digital, the Ghana-based media startup dubbed the BuzzFeed of Africa, announced wednesday that it has raised $1.1 million in seed funding. Its main website, OMG Voice, already has versions for Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya, and the new capital will be used to expand into more countries.

OMG Digitals new investors are Kima Ventures, Soma Capital, Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, Social Capital, M& Y Growth Partners, and Macro Ventures. Angel investors, including Josh Buckley of Mino Games, Will Sternlicht, entertainment lawyer Kenneth Hertz, and Off-Grid Electric founder Frances Xavier Helgesen, likewise participated. The startup was previously covered by TechCrunch last summer while

At first, Ghansah, Boampong, and Mensah didnt determine OMG Ghana as their main project, and tried to launching a microlending platform instead. But that struggled to get funding, while OMG Ghana began to gain more readers and stimulate some money. The three decided to turn it into a media company and were accepted into Y Combinator. During their stint in the program last year, Ghansah says they learned how to be super bold.

We wanted to start from Ghana but they said to go to non-eu countries. YC pushes you to take bigger risks and push yourself.

Ghansah adds that over a third of Africans are millennials, so OMG Digital has a lot of a potential readers. One challenge it faces that BuzzFeed doesnt, nonetheless, is the wide-ranging change in languages and culture across Africa.

Though most things can be shared between the websites, every countrys version of OMG Voice has a lot of tailor-made content.For instance, the Ghana site has headlines like 14 Times The Phrase Bye Felicia Was Just Too Perfect A Response In Ghana and 6 Badass Warriors From Ghana You Should Know ,~ ATAGEND while Kenyan readers can click on 10 Reasons Why Kenyans Really Love Game Of Thrones and You Will Now Serve Jail Term In Kenya If You Are Acquired With A Plastic Bag .

There are a lot of culture nuances and changes, but in some countries, there are some similarities, says Ghansah. Like Ghana and Nigeria are close in terms of culture, so its easy to generate 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 acquiring the next closest market to its implementation of culture.

The company will begin with English-speaking markets before tackling French and other languages, with the goal of one day being present in every African country. OMG Voice already has a culinary vertical called ServePot, and has the intention to launch tech and lifestyle verticals as well. The corporation will likewise began building an events business, with meetups and startup conferences.

Like BuzzFeed and other similar corporations, OMG Digital monetizes through digital marketing. Currently 80 percent of its ad sales are from flag ads, but as in other marketplaces, its advertisers are seeing a smaller return on investment and looking for alternatives that are more suited to mobile screens( about 90 percent of OMG Digitals customers access the content of the report through mobile devices, including with regard to Android smartphones ).

About 60 percent of OMG Digital consumers are between 18 to 24 years old and one of its value propositions is helping overseas corporations figure out how to reach young African consumers in different markets( for example, in some countries Twitter is more popular than Facebook, so localized strategies need to take that into account ). OMG Digital has already are associated with Coca Cola, Huawei, KFC, Philips, Pringles, and several of Africas largest telecoms, including MTN, on marketing campaigns and sponsored content.

We want to pioneer content advertising in Africa with major brands and its moving good so far, says Ghansah. Brands are starting to get it and the next two years will be huge for us.

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