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Zim innovator looks to kick-start hip hop startup with crowdfunding

Mixdem Indiegogo

Just over a year ago we told you about Munyuki Manatsa, the Zimbabwean university graduate who built an online hip-hop community from an internet café. His efforts grabbed international attention, and now he’s trying to raise funding to further build the project.

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Manatsa decided to build the site, called mixdem, in part because he was frustrated with after struggling to find employment once he graduated from university.

There were a couple of obstacles he had to overcome first though. For one thing he didn’t have an internet connection. His coding skills were, by his own admission, a “bity [sic] rusty”.

He was also out on his own if anything went wrong and he had no means of paying for a domain name. Rather than using these factors as an excuse not to get the project going, he set himself up in an internet café, got a friend to buy a domain name for him and chose his webhost based on a Google search.

According to the project’s fundraising page on Indiegogo, the objective is to turn mixdem into “a platform that will help music fans to listen to great music irrespective of whether it is from a popular artists or artists who haven’t made it yet”.

Manatsa reckons that the site is a viable business but says that financial constraints stopped him working on it for seven months. Despite the attention the project got initially, he still also faces restricted internet access, outdated equipment and writers who won’t work for nothing.

“Being a programmer myself”, he says, “I would be doing more of the programming myself but I will need some allowance in order to pay bills while I work on the application full-time”.

Those are all pretty lofty goals considering Mantasa’s funding goal is just US$5 000 and a portion of the budget will be spent marketing mixdem. This will apparently include creating videos, launch events, online paid advertising, fliers , t-shirts and other forms of advertising.

In fact, he admits that the costs far outweigh what he’s asking for:

While the costs highlighted above are obviously above US$5 000 and not even exhaustive, I am looking for a modest US$6 000 barely enough to get a solid platform out to the rest of the world and attract enough users in order to make the platform self-sustainable or attract international investors.

Mantasa’s decision to go with the crowdfunding model, he claims, is mostly one of necessity:

Well where am at now, Windhoek there are no investors available to a fund an early stage startup. The problem is widespread across Africa including my home country, Zimbabwe. This leaves only with one option to looking for funding on self-raising platform, of which only Indiegogo is available international.

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