South Africa mobile journalism network ‘Hashtag Our Stories’, an international mobile journalism (MOJO) network, publishing vertical video stories on social media, created by citizens, curated by journalists has just netted $150 000 in funding from social media Snapchat and a place in the US tech company’s startup accelerator Yellow.
The accelerator class ranges from augmented reality and journalism studios to lifestyle brands around weddings and fashion to aesthetic-focused marketplaces like ConBody that pairs you with a muscular ex-convict for workouts.
Yellow calls itself “A launchpad for creative minds and entrepreneurs who are looking to build the next generation of great media companies.” Yellow could become a content provider and potential acquisition feeder for the company. ANRK and Space Oddity Films could boost Snapchat’s AR gaming effort, Hashtag Our Stories could fill Snap Map with citizen news broadcasts, Toonstar could bring animation to Discover, and SelfieCircus could power marketing pop-ups like the Snapbots that sold the company’s Spectacles.
The one-year-old Durban-founded network is run by former social media reporter at CNN, Yusuf Omar and his wife Sumaiya.
The network has been accepted into the accelerator’s first class of nine companies. Hashtag Our Stories is the only non-US participant.
Apart from the funding, the accelerator will offer business support and a three-month residency in Venice, California, near Los Angeles — for what a source says is a seven to 10 per cent equity stake.
Hashtag Our Stories claims to have helped 200 citizen storytellers in over 40 countries to produce videos with their phones.