Updated Jun 18, 2020

Ama Dadson

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AkooBooks Audio is a platform and experience provider focused on transforming African books into engaging audiobooks that reach new audiences on mobile devices.

Voice is re-emerging as an important content platform. AkooBooks builds world class voice experiences for our users. Our business promotes audio literacy in English and local African languages on mobile devices, bringing a wealth of ideas and experiences to youth who are illiterate. Smart speakers are increasingly impacting the audiobook world with growing numbers of listeners using smart sp...
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Voice is re-emerging as an important content platform. AkooBooks builds world class voice experiences for our users. Our business promotes audio literacy in English and local African languages on mobile devices, bringing a wealth of ideas and experiences to youth who are illiterate. Smart speakers are increasingly impacting the audiobook world with growing numbers of listeners using smart speakers. AkooBooks Audio intends to be at the forefront of utilizing voice interaction and ML technology to connect African books and authors to readers and audiobook listeners. Skipping the translation phase of books and producing ‘straight into audio’ local language versions from English audio, the new interpreted local language adaptations can then form the basis for new local language literature and voice based reading assistants. AkooBooks will develop the first voice based African Library Reading Curation tool for African books. Starting with Ghanaian books/users will be guided through a 'Choose your Book' experience, resulting in recommended reading lists with a path to borrow/purchase a book and listen on a mobile device. We provide a catalogue of human-read African audiobooks, including literature, popular fiction and curriculum-aligned titles giving every student equitable access to grade-level content to build vocabulary, comprehension and critical-thinking skills.
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Education
  

Stage 4: Transition to Scale

AkooBooks incorporated in November 2017. • Audiobooks available to customers on retail at. • Negotiated over 100 audiobook license agreements with African Writers and Publishers. • A team of 15 Narrators working on contract basis.
Registered in Ghanain Ghana

Focus Areas:

Education, Literacy, Communications and Media and 1 MoreSEE ALL

Education, Literacy, Communications and Media and Digital Inclusion & ConnectivitySEE LESS

Implemented In:

Senegal, Morocco, Cote d'Ivoire and 1 MoreSEE ALL

Senegal, Morocco, Cote d'Ivoire and GhanaSEE LESS

3
Key Partners
4
Countries Implemented In
220
Customers
3
Employees
$70,000
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

Africa's low literacy challenges, limited know-how and slow adoption of digital book distribution have prevented efficient and effective African knowledge transfer and stunted our growth in the digital economy. 250 million African children with no books at home or access to libraries. There is also the challenge with the busy urban working class and child street hawkers on the street, in high traffic cities who spend hours commuting to work each day and unable to read during such commutes.

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Solution

With Africa recording the highest penetration of the use of mobile phones, hundreds of millions of Africans have access to various mobile devices and carry them around. Enter audiobooks. Our library of African audio is available anytime, accessible anywhere on a wide variety of mobile devices service at flexible subscription plans and low retail cost. The convenience of audiobooks makes it possible to read while doing other things like commuting, exercising (and for women, cooking or farming.)

Target Beneficiaries

Our initial target customers are young African university and tertiary students, the ‘Millennials’ (18-34 yrs). They are heavy mobile phone/social media users in the 18-34 age range, Graduates starting out in their careers, Multi-taskers, Poor reading culture but adventurous and ambitious. Street Hawkers, Older people, visually impaired persons as well as those with other forms of disabilities are also beneficiaries.

Mission and Vision

Mission: AkooBooks Audio is a platform and experience provider focused on the transforming African books into engaging audiobooks that reach new audiences on mobile phones. We foster online discovery of new African voices and African literature. Vision: Our vision is to become a recognisable and powerful global African audio publishers brand, providing unlimited audio on flexible Subscription Plans; to build a platform where African Author’s voices can be heard and discovered globally.

Competitive Advantage

Audible.com is the dominant player in the audiobook market with primary focus on the US and UK. Other US/European audiobook services exist, including Google launched in February 2018 and Storytel, a Scandinavian startup (2005), rapidly expanded into 11 countries. In Africa, the foray into digital is mainly ebooks with non-profit Worldreader.org playing a major role in bringing books to 9 million African readers on mobile phones in just 3 years (2015-18). Kytabu (Kenya), Okada Books and Publiseer, (Nigeria) are ebooks startups. South African Audioshelf.co.za,(2016), is the first African company to produce audiobooks focused on South African authors. AkooBooks employs African acting talent from theatre and film for audiobook narration, growing the audiobook industry. We are dedicated to finding Indigenous narrators that can accurately portray African voices, characters and experiences. Within two years, we aim to be the largest single employer of voice talent in West Africa.

Planned Goals and Milestones

1) Expansion of catalogue to 200 titles 2) Digital publishing services to African writers & publishers through licensing agreements with telcos and audio content providers, market verticals e.g podcasts, radio 3) 10,000 paying subscribers by end of Q2 2020 @$3.00/mo ($360k revenue ) 4) Development of voice based African Reading Curation Tool 5) Recruit 30 professional African narrators 6) AkooBooks App on iOS/Android playstores & web at https://akoobooks.net/ 8) Distribution Partnerships (5)
Funding Goal200,000
Projected Cumulative Lives Impacted1,000,000
New Implemented CountriesSenegal, Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire
Recruit6 Board, 1 CEO, 15 1 CTO, 1 Business Development Manager Narrators (Contractors), 2 Sound Engineers

The Team Behind the Innovation

We are a women-led company with over 35 years combined experience in publishing, technology, media and entertainment. Full time- CEO, Ama Dadson Part time- Co-Founders CTO, Benjamin Cobblah & Business Development Manager, Isaac Neequaye Contract-15 Narrators, 1 Sound Engineers/1 Production Engineer Board Members(Legal,media): Amba Mpoke-Bigg, Tawia Addo-Ashong , Eibhlin Chlerigh, Akosua Busia External Advisers (Publishing/Finance), Elliot Agyare, Prof. Esi Sutherland Addy, Judith Aidoo

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Oct 2020
Key Partnership
Government
 
as part of
 Memorandum of Understanding with the Ghana Library Authority
Apr 2020
New Product Or Service
Covid19 Awareness and prevention Tips in Ghanaian languages through our AkooBooks app and website
Feb 2020
Funds RaisedPENDING
TITLEMastercard Foundation first cohort of African EdTech Companies
TYPEGrant
FOCUS AREAS
Education, Curriculum, Literacy and 3 more SEE ALL
Education, Curriculum, Literacy, Inclusive Education, Parent & Family Engagement and Positive Youth Development SEE LESS
Implemented InGhana, Ethiopia, Rwanda and 1 more SEE ALLGhana, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya SEE LESS
Oct 2019
Created
Nov 2017
Created
Date Unknown
New Country Implemented In
Ghana