Renew Capital invests in Ethiopian audio book and podcast company

Renew Capital has recently invested in Teraki, an online audio platform based in Ethiopia, co-founded by Nahom Tsegaye and Abel Engida.The platform amplifies Ethiopia's rich tradition of storytelling by offering audiobooks and podcasts in various Ethiopian languages.

The founders started the project in 2019 with a small budget of $2,000, and by November of 2022, the platform had 38,000 users.

The entrepreneurs began the project in 2019 with just $2,000, using those funds to recruit Ethiopian voiceover and acting talent to record narrations of some of their nation’s most popular books. As of November, the platform had an estimated 38,000 users listening to everything from novels, self-help books and children’s literature to podcasts on tech, entrepreneurship, interpersonal relationships, spirituality and current affairs.

According to UN World Population Prospects 2022, 70% of Ethiopia’s population of 120 million is under the age of 30. 

“Our generation is highly and increasingly dependent on technology, and Ethiopian youth are increasingly using Teraki to understand different current affairs and define our place in this world,” said co-founder Nahom Tsegaye. 

“The youth really don't have that connection with their elders and those storytellers,” said co-founder Abel Engida. 

Teraki says over half of its more than 80 podcasts also create opportunities for Ethiopians to create a greater sense of community through online conversation. 

“We wanted to give a platform to everyone to discuss what it's like to experience feminism, sexism, relationships and other topics and what they mean in our own context,” said Engida.

According to 2021 data from the World Bank, Ethiopia is Africa's second largest country after Nigeria, and according to 2018 data from the Ethiopian government, there were three to five million Ethiopians living in the diaspora. This provides Teraki plenty of room for expansion.

Teraki knows the diaspora is as Ethiopian as their compatriots living in the mother country, and they are confident their company can strengthen those connections, while reinforcing the linguistic and cultural identities of Ethiopian immigrants and expatriates, especially children enrolled in schools without their home languages.

“It’s a really exciting project because we're planning not only to shine a light on these local talents, but also trying to reach out to this global community” said Engida.