YouScribe raises €5mln African expansion funds

By : Redaction

Date : mercredi, 09 février 2022 13:11

The online library YouScribe unveiled plans to strengthen its presence in Africa. Yesterday February 8, it announced it has secured €5 million from the French Banque des Territoires.

The startup will use the money to accelerate its expansion on the continent, especially in the ten countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Morocco, Mali, South Africa, Cameroon, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, DRC, and Madagascar) where it already operates. YouScribe also eyes seven new markets on the continent and plans to expand its collection with new books, and diversify payment methods.

According to Maud Franca, deputy director of the Program of Investments for the Future at the Banque des Territoires, the investment aims to support the profound changes that the French-language book and publishing sectors are experiencing with digital technology.

"YouScribe is a response to the challenges that must be met collectively to provide alternative offers to the large online library platforms, often foreign, and to support publishers and authors in the French-speaking world, while also thinking of the younger generations, who are fans of social media and mobile applications,” she said.

The number of French speakers in the world is expected to increase from more than 300 million currently to 750 million in 2050, making French the second most spoken language after Mandarin, according to the Observatoire démographique et statistique de l'espace francophone (ODSEF). The latter estimates that more than 70% of French speakers will be Africans and Africa will have more than 90% of young French speakers aged 15-29. However, the lack of distribution infrastructure and the high cost of paper books could accentuate the low access to reading for Africans.

The relevance of the project earned YouScribe the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Award in 2013. In 2015, the initiative received the 2017 Digital Africa Challenge Award, organized by AFD, French Tech, and Bpifrance. In 2018, Orange Africa chose the startup to promote access to reading in countries where books are poorly distributed.

By the end of 2021, YouScribe was already claiming nearly 700,000 subscribers, up 100% from 2020. By 2025, the online library with more than one million books, audiobooks, and educational digital documents targets several million subscribers, 80% of which will be in Africa.


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