Stears has announced a $3.3 million seed round with MaC Venture Capital as the lead investor. Participating companies included Serena Ventures, Luminate Fund of Omidyar Group, Melo 7 Tech Partners, and Cascador (Empowering Economic Growth Foundation).
Two years after raising $650,000 in pre-seed finance, Stears has received this announcement. It received some non-dilutive capital as one of the 60 firms approved into the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund 2022 batch last month.
To address the lack of knowledge and data-driven insights in the West African nation, Preston Ideh, a corporate lawyer, Michael Famoroti, a data scientist, Bode Ogunlana, a software developer, and Abdul Abdulrahim founded a media business in 2017.
In Nigeria, Stears began as a media outlet specializing in financial news and analysis. Stears Premium, its flagship subscription insights product, educates the entire public on topics related to business and finance, economics, government, and policy in Nigeria. Its content ranges from news and opinion articles to investigative pieces and deep dives.
Customers, especially workers working in various finance-related institutions across the nation, heavily utilized the $100/year offering.
Stears then targeted the offering to corporations who wished to subscribe in favor of their teams since these institutions have more purchasing power.
Financial institutions including Sterling Bank and fintech companies like Sparkle, PiggyVest, and Paystack are among its subscribers.
According to the company, its user base has doubled in size over the past year, growing mostly organically at a rate of about 6.5% per month.
Stears has evolved into a data and intelligence firm with the iteration of Stears Premium and the addition of the products Stears Pro and Stears Advisory. Content on Stears Premium is influenced by macro trends and issues like GDP and inflation.
Abdulrahim, the company’s COO and data scientist, claims that the data team is collaborating with financial institutions and international development organizations to create exclusive, proprietary datasets that are unique.
Stears intends to compile data, engage in deep data analytics, and offer it to its corporate customers in a variety of ways rather than providing insights from the data it sources.
Stears Advisory, the product where the company assumes its consultant role and takes on outside projects related to its main coverage, will be put on hold while the company focuses more on Pro and Premium.
The Advisory product, which CEO Ideh compares to an R&D arm supported by various partners, enables Stears to experiment with data gathering and analysis and serves as the foundation for carving out additional insights, but it is not scalable and lacks the kind of recurring income that venture-backed businesses require.
Ideh claims that the seed funding will transform Stears from a v2.0, a Nigerian insight firm, to a v3.0, an African data company.
The company intends to use the funding to grow to East Africa through Kenya, Southern Africa through the aforementioned nation, and North Africa through Egypt. It also hopes to add data scientists, data analysts, and sector analysts.