Stears, a pan-African data and intelligence company, has closed a seed round of $3.3 million. The funding was led by MaC Venture Capital with participation from Serena Ventures, Melo 7 Tech Partners, Omidyar Group’s Luminate Fund, Cascador, and Hoaq Club.
Stears was also recently accepted into the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund 2022 cohort, which included some non-dilutive funding. The company says it plans to use this investment to enhance its data collection and analytics capabilities, talent acquisition, and expansion to East and Southern Africa.
Stears is a financial data and intelligence company providing subscription-based data and insight to global businesses and professionals. Stears’ customers can make intelligent decisions about African economies and markets by leveraging publicly available macroeconomic and financial data, its proprietary datasets, and Stears’ deep analytical expertise.
What they are saying
Commenting on the fundraising, Stears CEO, Preston Ideh, said: “We know global professionals need our data and insight because banks, research firms, development organizations, and investors are already using our early products. Our customers tell us we are building a ‘systemically important’ company to address Africa’s data problem.”
“Globally, information providers like Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters have built data powerhouses, which act as information gateways to Western markets. We are executing an African version of this model, focused on the often missing, outdated, or poorly digitized African datasets needed by operators, finance and policy professionals, researchers, and even regulators,” he added.
Co-founder and managing general partner at MaC Venture Capital, Marlon Nichols, said: “Africa is home to the first humans and is now the next frontier for business. Many multinational corporations and governments understand this to be a reality. They also appreciate that several African countries are subject to unique business processes and are primarily cash-based economies, which results in understated GDP, among other things. Stears is uniquely positioned to provide the proprietary and accurate data needed to unlock trade and deeper business relationships with African countries and companies.”
Also speaking, Serena Williams, founder and managing general partner at Serena Ventures, adds: “Better and more transparent business and financial data is expected to lead to more investment on the African continent. Stears has shown a deep appreciation of the complexities involved in solving this problem for global professionals. Through a combination of technology and data, Stears is well placed to leverage the massive data opportunity on the continent.”
What you should know
- Stears started as a response to the lack of data-driven insights on the African continent. It came to life after the four founders, Michael Famoroti, an economist; Bode Ogunlana, a software engineer; Abdul Abdulrahim, a data scientist and Preston Ideh, graduates of the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford, decided to team up and start an insights company focused on Nigeria.
- The multidisciplinary backgrounds of the founders made it easy to work with different kinds of datasets, and the startup evolved into a data and intelligence company.
- In 2019, the team built Nigeria’s first real-time election database, which over 2 million Nigerians used to monitor the general elections. Buoyed by the 2019 success, they raised pre-seed funding of $650,000, making the total amount raised to date $4 million.
- In November 2022, Stears plans to relaunch the election data site, in anticipation of Nigeria’s 2023 elections.