Why We Invested: Indiegraf

Jon Shell
Ideas from Social Capital Partners

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One of The Ownership Fund’s first investments was in a Canadian start-up called Indiegraf. We love this one because it’s a perfect example of one of our core objectives: making it easier for more people to start and own thriving businesses.

Indiegraf is focused on making entrepreneurship easier for independent journalists by providing the support needed to run local, community-focused, for-profit digital news outlets. They provide the technology and marketing tools needed for these news outlets to grow their audiences and drive revenue, allowing them to focus on producing quality journalism for their communities. In addition, Indiegraf also provides non-extractive capital to fuel different stages of growth, without affecting the ownership or independence of the journalists.

In recent years, many traditional print newspapers have struggled as advertising revenue, their primary source of funding, has been shifted online. In addition, the industry has become increasingly consolidated as many media outlets have been gobbled up by large corporations. In the wake of these trends, many independent newspapers have been forced to sell, or shut down operations altogether. The result has been fewer and fewer independently owned and operated news outlets and the emergence of so called ‘news deserts’ where many communities lack access to quality news focused on their respective communities. And, lack of access to quality local news is often associated with less civic engagement, the spread of misinformation and lower voter turnout for various government elections.

These trends mask strong demand for local journalism. More people are turning to online news sources with a willingness to pay for quality journalism. As a result, new, independent outlets are emerging, although many lack the technology, marketing capabilities, capital and expertise to successfully grow their audiences and drive revenue. That’s where Indiegraf steps in. Founded by a team of industry veterans, Indiegraf has a deep understanding of the resources that independent journalists need to scale their businesses in a sustainable way. Indiegraf provides the backend technology, at an affordable cost, that journalist entrepreneurs need to maintain an online presence, grow their audience, develop new revenue streams and distribute content in a cost-efficient manner.

Indiegraf is a clear fit for The Ownership Fund’s main criteria: it is a scalable way to provide enduring and accessible ownership opportunities for people who otherwise face many barriers. And we’re excited about growing sustainable, local independent journalism. The Indiegraf team is also a great fit with us philosophically: they have a history of advocacy and a proven commitment to advancing the rights of women and the BIPOC community. We’re proud to partner with them on their journey. If you’re interested in learning more, or investing in Indiegraf, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

The Ownership Fund’s investment in Blackstar was led by Taylor Sekhon and Ian MacDonald wrote this note. For more see https://www.ownershipfund.com/.

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