STEP gets $2M Series A, plans a digital media empire
STEP Group has closed a Series A funding round with a $2 million investment from regional investors, including Wamda Capital, Equitrust, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and international VC firm North Base Media.
Earlier this month STEP Conference announced the launch of STEP Music, which will be held during the annual summit - STEP's fifth - in April. The new addition will be a conference-and-festival, highlighting the development of the regional music industry.
Furthermore, recently the group acquired Arab Vines, a video content platform.
“We identified a growing gap between Arab millennials and the mainstream media, and saw the need to bridge this with a dynamic new media platform. The growth strategy for Step Group is ambitious and this investment will help,” said Ray Dargham, cofounder and CEO of the STEP Group.
Dargham said he was inspired by global models, looking to replicate the Vox model of a platform that uses multiple industry verticals, and the Buzzfeed creativity when producing content.
Dargham’s team has been working on a custom made backend that uses interactive formats for Stepfeed.com and Yallafeed.com. “We call it Hugo and it is an ongoing process that builds everything a content producer needs as templates to fasten the process of publishing content,” he told Wamda.
In just under 18 months both platforms, one catering to an English speaking audience and the other to Arabic speakers, have gained more than three million unique monthly users and six million monthly views. They told Wamda that within a year they want to quadruple the user base across the platforms, reaching more than 10 million users and 30 plus million monthly views, while further developing the recently launched Step Video.
“STEP Group has recognized and taken ownership of a sector that is realizing significant growth already," said Khaled Talhouni, managing partner of Wamda Capital. "Our partnership with STEP is strategic and we will be leveraging the wider Wamda platform in realizing the company’s potential.”
STEP Group represents the first investment in the Arab region for North Base Media, an investment firm focused on media, journalistic enterprise and digital-driven opportunities in growth markets around the world.
“We look all over the world for the best media entrepreneurs in the most exciting markets. STEP Group is just that,” said Turi Munthe of North Base Media.
Feature image via STEP.