Daily Secret Raises $1.25M To Bring Its Email Newsletters To Africa, Other Markets

Daily Secret, which sends out daily emails offering city-specific tips, is announcing that it has raised a Series B round of funding.

The company declined to disclose the size of the round, but according to a regulatory filing it was $1.25 million. PanAfrican Investment Co. led the funding, with previous investors Greycroft Partners and eVentures also participating.

As the name implies, PIC (which was founded by former Time Warner chairman and CEO Richard Parsons) backs tech companies that are looking to grow in Sub-Saharan Africa. PIC Director Lior Prosor told me that most of the firm’s previous investments are serving middle- and working-class users, so Daily Secret is PIC’s first portfolio company aimed at “premium digital audiences.”

“The way we look at it, the major cities in Africa — Nairobi in Kenya, Lagos in Nigeria, Accra in Ghana — are booming, developing cities like any other,” Prosor said. “They may be one or two or three years behind, but they’re on the exact same trajectory.”

Daily Secret says it has 1.5 million subscribers in 20 countries, including those that are both emerging (India, China, Mexico) and not (Canada, the United Kingdom). The company plans to launch newsletters in 15 new cities over the next year, including “some of Africa’s fastest growing markets.”

CEO Nikolaos Kakavoulis told me that the idea started a few years ago, when he moved back to Athens to launch the digital versions of Vogue, Glamour, and Men’s Health magazines. He’d spent eight years living outside of the country, and in returning, he said he had a “newfound appreciation of the city.” Eventually, he decided to “translate falling in love with the city again into a media product,” namely a short email newsletter.

Why email?

“The inbox is typically the place where [our readers] start their day and the place where they end their day,” Kakavoulis said. “For these people, the biggest problem is noise … They don’t have time to invest in traditional media products.”

However, he added that Daily Secret’s focus on email doesn’t exclude adding “other distribution channels” in the future.

The newsletter is free, with the company making money from advertising. Kakavoulis said he wants Daily Secret to become “a meeting place where brands that cater to this audience can meet a concentrated audience of young professionals,” and beyond geographic expansion, the new funding will be used to “create sustainable momentum in our sales team.”

This post has been updated to clarify Kakavoulis’ role when he moved back to Athens.