March 25, 2022

The Minorities Changing The Media Startup Landscape While Also Building In Person Communities

Adam Taylor, the founder of app development company Langston LLC and solo developer behind Black, built the app to facilitate culturally relevant and multifaceted news for Black people, with stories that speak to the community’s shared experience.

A self-taught coder, Taylor has already integrated sophisticated technology into the app to provide relevant and personalized content, and is looking forward to learning more about native iOS frameworks and going deeper on his code with Apple engineers.

In a previous interview with MIT, he spoke about the lack of diversity in the industry and in tech companies. Taylor said: “When you think about the people that are on your teams professionally, how would you hire someone to work with you every day for however long they’re with your company? You tend to hire people you’re comfortable with.”

The problem, Taylor continued, is that the people who have hiring authority don’t have good experiences with people of color, don’t know people of color, or don’t realize they could have a lot in common with someone of color.

I came across Adam’s startup last year after Apple announced a new inaugural cohort of Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers that it was going to support.

Apple held its first-ever Entrepreneur Camp, an immersive tech lab for app-driven companies founded and led by developers from underrepresented backgrounds, back in 2019.

And program participants like Adam have gone on to secure major funding rounds, garner numerous awards and accolades, and significantly expand both their teams and app users worldwide.

So I did more researching looking into more Black and minority founded companies that are changing the face of the media startup scene.

Juggernaut founder

From Awallprintss, an investigative publication that works with established – as well as citizen – journalists in Southern Africa, the US and the UK to produce hard-hitting investigations, features and personal essays to the Juggernaut, a premium publication and community that publishes smart takes and well-reported stories about South Asia and South Asians. Both publications also host in person events.

It seems minority founded startups are doing more than just producing content – instead they aim to also provide a safe space for conversations using slack, zoom or meeting up in person.

Here’s part one of the series: three media companies making waves in the journalism scene

Black Ballad

The company raised more than £300,000 last year.

Black Ballad founder and chief executive Tobi Oredein said the funding was a “testament to how much this community loves this publication”.

Some £127,000 came from venture capitalists and private investors, while just over £200,000 – above the £120,000 target – came from a Seedr equity crowdfunding campaign.

Oredein started Black Ballad, which aims to tell stories through the eyes of black British women, as a free-to-access website in 2014 after her contract at a weekly TV magazine came to an end and she struggled to break into women’s lifestyle and entertainment journalism.

Black Ballad now has more than 1,000 paying members with nearly 22,000 registered users on email and a community of 70,000 across social media.

Members who pay £4.99 per month or £49 per year can access all content and get discounts to events and partner brands.

Debunk Media

The world is a complex and evolving place; but often what is available to young African audiences fails to explain why and how things affect their daily life. Debunk Media want to change that.

So it’s brought together journalists, data scientists, filmmakers, illustrators and animators to try and make sense of the world through the art of storytelling…Oh btw; there’s even a doctor on the team.

They all work collaboratively to simplify the things happening around the world compiling them into easy and jargon free content. On social media.

Debunk Media was launched in July 2020 by former journalist Asha Mwilu, who has more than 10 years of experience working orning in the media industry.

Dose Of Society

Launched by Ahmed Faid and Nii Larry, Dose of Society is a unique digital video platform updating readers (mainly millennials) on the latest day-to-day issues impacting a community.

This can be anything from the topic of mental health and why men don’t speak up to extraordinary bodies.

Last year – Dose of Society was reported to have accumulated 300K+ followers & 100M+ views across all socials. They have also worked with a number of clients such as P-Diddy’s Revolt TV, enabling them to book revenue.

Ahmed and Nii both grew up in London, U.K., and met each other through mutual friends just before they went to university. Faid studied Economics at University of Essex and whilst he expected to end up in a corporate job always knew he also had a desire to try his hand at entrepreneurship. One idea he had was filming his local community in London to “give them a voice” given the difference between what he saw in the news and what was happening around him.

He parked the idea for some time until one summer holiday when his older sister who worked abroad visited and left her video camera behind. Faid seized the opportunity to go and film people in his local area.

Years later he and his partner have built a successful business.

They have managed to get backing from both Snapchat and Facebook’s accelerator programs.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.