Welcome to 2024!
We came of age last year, and it has been a continued journey of growth; marked with ups and downs. However, we’ve continued to sharpen our editorial to bring you impressive reporting about the African tech ecosystem, even as we pursue profitability.
In the last two years, we’ve made it a duty to provide you with insights into what has been going on behind the scenes at BCSL and our publication, Bendada.com.
As we did last year, we will bring you a breakdown of what we did and how we performed this year.
How did 2023 go at Bendada.com?
Part of our work this year was focused on doubling down on some of the products that were launched last year, except for the video series on founders. We continued to host BD Talks, our routine audio conversation via Twitter Spaces. Our last episode for 2023 was held a few days ago where we reviewed the Nigerian fintech ecosystem with leading African business journalists and analysts.
Our guest contributor, Jeremiah Ajayi, also continued publishing his interviews with top African investors like Kola Aina, founding partner at Ventures Platform, on The Investors’ Corner series.
Aside from working on our existing products we also launched:
- The Investor Clinic:
We previously told you about our tech-triangle puzzle which is made up of talents, founders and investors. In 2023, we launched “The Investor Clinic”, a monthly virtual event for African tech founders and investors.
Our goal for this event is to provide founders with industry and market insights, improve their messaging, get feedback on their ideas, and understand what investors want or love to see. The Investor Clinic features a pitch deck teardown, a pitch session and a Q&A.
In September, we hosted the inaugural clinic with Africa-focused investors like Joseph Benson-Aruna, a partner at DFS Labs; Kristine Wilson, a venture partner at Oui Capital and Oliver Gao, senior investment associate at Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures.
Although we didn’t host another event after this one, we are looking forward to doing more of it in the new year.
- Launched a new web series—The Japa Journal
As the mass exodus of African talent to the West continues, we created The Japa Journals to take you through the journey of the African tech professionals outside the continent; their trials, triumphs, challenges and victories.
We intend that it will guide potential immigrants and enable them to avoid landmines, quagmires and optimise their journeys in a foreign land.
Last month, we published the first edition, an interview with Alma Asinobi, a former tech employee at Cowrywise and elsewhere. She talked about Kaijego, a traveltech product that she has built to enable young Africans to travel the world.
- BD African Startup Graveyard
Amid the ongoing economic downturn, many startups have faced closure, mainly due to challenges in securing additional funding. Hence, shutdowns and layoffs have been prominent headlines this year. Instead of merely reporting on these events, we decided to compile a database of African startups that have ceased operations.
- Curated a productivity tool kit
We carefully curated a powerhouse collection of 500+ free tools to help tech startups and professionals with their growth. Sure, you can also access it.
While at all of these, we also:
- Published over 700 articles, which include news stories, features and brand press.
- Wrote about 72 newsletters.
For our newsletters, we experimented with weekday and weekend editions, as well as a paid-only newsletter focused on fintech. We’ve paused all of these newsletter verticals, but we will be making editorial decisions based on user feedback to serve you better through our newsletters. Watch out!
Inside the BD Newsroom
As our editorial work continues to grow, our reporters have also been able to leverage it for personal development opportunities:
In 2023, Johnstone Kpilaakaa through a data report he wrote out of the BD Funding Tracker was selected to participate in the Corrossive & Constructive Capital Project of the Centre of Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID). He was also a delegate representing Bendada.com at the maiden edition of the West African Journalism Innovation Conference in Abuja.
Due to his reporting on African healthtech startups building innovations to cater for mental health, Oluwadara Stephen was also selected for Mental Health Reporting Workshop by CJID, Mental Health KAFE and the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria.
There will be more of this in 2024!
One of what we will be announcing in the coming week is change of editorial leadership in our newsroom, Benjamin will write to you about it soon.
Aligned with our objective to deliver impressive reporting and ensure a smooth user experience, our backend team added new user-focused features to achieve this aim.
The key feature that was shipped last year was:
- Translation support: As our audience continues to grow, we noticed the need to be more intentional about our francophone audience, so we launched a translation support that provides French translation. We will increase the options in the coming year as we observe our audience reach.
How did we perform in 2023?
Here’s how we performed across our major performance indicators: user growth and revenue, last year.
In 2023, we had 17.2 million Google impressions, a 102.35% increase from the previous year. Our users grew by 48.6%, a bit below our target. Organic search went up by 53.58%, direct by 106.99%, and social by 15.64%. This means more people are finding us through search, visiting our site directly every day.
Looking at our backend data, we observed that many of our top articles in 2023 were addressing specific questions that people are actively seeking answers to. We’re growing our team to meet these needs.
Aside from growing our user base, our revenue grew by 50% in 2023.
There were other things we aimed to accomplish last year, but transitions within our workforce prevented us from doing so. Nonetheless, we are optimistic about achieving some of these goals in the upcoming year. This includes a redesign of our data product, Bendata, as well as the production of more reports and a revamp of our website.
We are also going to make an exciting announcement early this year about our editorial team. Look forward to it!