Through its creative industry focused startup accelerator, Snap Inc. (formerly Snapchat) has invested in a South African citizen journalism startup, Hashtag Our Stories. The South African journalism startup will receive $150,000 in investment from Snap in exchange for what is rumored to be equity of anything from 7% to 10%.
Added to the equity investment, the husband and wife co-founding team of Yusuf and Sumaiya Omar will also relocate to one of Snap's buildings in Venice, California, near Los Angeles for a 3-month residency in one of Snap’s buildings as part of the accelerator programme.
"Since September 2017, we’ve empowered 200 citizen storytellers in over 40 countries to produce videos with their phones. We focus on constructive, solutions-based stories and provide more diverse news coverage. Because more cameras and more perspectives means more truth," reads a statement by Hashtag Our Stories explaining what they do.
Snapping out of a rut
Since the launch of Instagram Stories, and the roll-out of the Stories feature on Facebook and WhatsApp, Snap's camera app has seen an overall decline in active users. In the second quarter of 2018, the company lost a total of approximately 3 million Daily Active Users (DAUs).
Given the decline in DAUs, it is no surprise that Snap is starting to invest into what look like complimentary startups to hopefully snap the company out of a rut.
Currently, Snap has a feature called Snap Map where users can view Snaps submitted from all across the world on a map. These include sporting events, breaking news, and more. This feature, given that Hashtag Our Stories is a citizen journalism type of media platform, is likely where the South African startup will add value.
Snap describes its startup accelerator, Yellow, as a "launchpad for creative minds and entrepreneurs who are looking to build the next generation of great media companies."Along with an investment in Hashtag Our stories, Snap invested in 8 other media related startups from around the world.
Cover image credit: Hashtag Our Stories.