"What Earl Graves and Black Enterprise did with a publication, I hope to do and surpass with this platform."
So let’s say I wanted to access a live conversation, right now, with people of African descent, discussing the things we care about - our history and culture, our children, our families, money, investing, generational wealth, supporting black businesses, supporting black colleges, supporting black creators, supporting black organizations - where would I go? Some of you many be thinking, “Well, just go to YouTube and watch some videos.” But that’s not what I’m talking about. I don’t want to watch a video from 6 months or 6 years ago - I want to enter a conversation, right now, that overtly centers around me, supports me, and culturally captivates me. So where do we go for that? Where does the global African diaspora go to get the live, curated content we need? The answer, as you already know, is that it doesn’t exist. Which is a tragedy. Because I believe it’s the one and only thing we need to collectively be who we want to be, and collectively achieve what we want to achieve. Because we have everything else. We already have world-class doctors and lawyers and educators and entrepreneurs and engineers and architects and farmers and filmmakers and managers and mechanics and activists and artists and astronomers and astronauts. We have everything we need - EXCEPT the conversation. And that is why I am launching KINZI, the world’s first Pan-African content, commerce, and community network, built upon live content, live commerce, and a live, continuous conversation that streams 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The time has come…
TECHNOLOGY & TARGET CUSTOMERS
First of all, it must be said that not long ago, the idea of an international, real-time, multi-lingual conversation exclusive to the Pan-African diaspora would’ve been dismissed as wholesale lunacy. However, thanks to the power of AI, it is now possible to audibly translate, nearly in real time, a live conversation into a suite of languages that can be understood by the majority of Black people on earth. Consequently, people of African descent now have the opportunity to connect and coordinate, around shared values and aspirations, in ways our ancestors never thought possible. With this in mind, it is not beyond the realm of possibility to see the number of mobile customers using KINZI eventually grow into the hundreds of millions. Here are some quick facts:
At present, the population of Africa is nearly 1.5 billion people.
- Ethiopia and Egypt both have over 100 million citizens, and Nigeria has over 200 million.
Outside of Africa, the African Diaspora numbers at least 150 million.
- Over 100 million people can be found in Brazil, United States, Haiti, France, Columbia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Jamaica, Mexico, Spain, Canada, Italy, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Germany alone.
In the next thirty years, Africa’s overall population is expected to double, and by 2050, 1 out of 4 people will be living in Africa.
To be clear, because our content will focus exclusively on the African diaspora, and because our commerce efforts will focus exclusively on products owned and developed by Black companies, we genuinely have the opportunity to achieve the unprecedented…
TRACTION / ENGAGEMENT
Approximately two years ago - in the spirit of “Walk Before You Run” - I launched RECOLLECT/Media to begin the march toward KINZI. The plan was to produce a suite of audio podcasts that would eventually evolve into interconnected video platforms that would thereafter merge, on cue, into a signature content, commerce, and community platform called KINZI…
What I have discovered along the way is that this plan, while legitimate and admirable, will not achieve its desired end in a desirable timeframe. Because of life’s unyielding demands - employment and the priceless joy of fatherhood - I am unfortunately quite far away from achieving this evolution without the infusion of venture capital. The good news, however, is that I don’t need to wonder about the viability of KINZI. What I’ve discovered through our RECOLLECT/Media podcasts is that our unique and signature content focus - especially the content focus of SKY IS BLACK - is precisely and perfectly on point. The overwhelming and predominant feedback we’ve received from listeners is that they are grateful for the show, grateful for the priorities and values expressed on the show, and, most of all, grateful for the information and insight they've received from the show - information and insight, as it turns out, that they don't receive anywhere else. Because of this, I have zero apprehensions regarding KINZI's market fit and power. Now is the time to build and take it to the next level…
WHY FRIENDS & FAMILY
Years from now, when the story of KINZI’s “overnight success” is told, I really want to be able to say that KINZI was birthed by investors of color. While this may seem irrelevant or inappropriate, I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge how important this is to me. As I have outlined already, the most dominant message that will emerge from our nonstop, Pan-African conversation is the conviction - no, not the conviction, the truth! - that people of African descent, and indeed all people of color, are able to secure both independence and wellbeing on our own.
Additionally, I am inspired by the fact that Slauson&Co. is open to, and capable of, making follow-on investments. This is especially appealing because, ultimately, I do not desire, or anticipate having, multiple funding rounds, or a large cap table. I firmly believe that with a single round of seed funding (approximately $4 million, from 1-3 investors), we’ll be able to sustainably build an exponentially profitable company.
It was with this in mind that I recently completed a Financial Accounting class through the Harvard Business School. Thankfully, I'm now cognizant and equipped with the tools, practices, and strategies necessary to financially honor this investment. Better yet, I'm also fully aware that because the ongoing production and operating costs of KINZI are low and largely fixed (studio space, equipment, team, talent, tech), there are few reasons to expect anything other than annually rising revenues. As outlined in the pitch deck (see below), revenue is expected to be no less than $44 million by Year 2…
USE OF FUNDS
If invited to join the 2024 cohort, I will begin working full-time to quickly complete the following:
- Working with colleagues at Apple to build and test the iOS KINZI app, focusing on the efficacy of global live streaming and real-time translation performance.
- Working with friends and colleagues in the tech community to build and test the KINZI app for Android, ROKU, YouTube TV, and Amazon Prime.
- Acquisition of studio space.
- Identification and acquisition on-air talent.
- Construction of the 2024 and 2025 Conversation Schedule. (This is the document that will show producers, talent, and future investors what 365 days of Pan-African content actually looks like).
- Production of a sizzle reel to be unveiled on May 25th.
- Prep for KINZI Preview Day (June 19th)/
- Investor meetings. As stated, my goal is to secure a small investment team (fewer than five) to acquire three years of operational costs, and partnership for the journey from launch to exit.
LASTLY, THE GRAND GOAL AND VISION
*SHORT TERM GOALS & MILESTONES
If all goes well, I plan to introduce KINZI to the world on May 25th, otherwise known as Africa Day. Africa Day celebrates the founding of the Organization of African Unity, which eventually became the African Union. On May 25th, we will release a sizzle video/promo/commercial that introduces KINZI to the world, and outlines what viewers can expect through our conversations, commerce platform (Ujamaazon), and app…
On Juneteenth (June 19th), we will have KENZI Preview Day, in as many markets as possible, and showcase 24 hrs of live programming…
On September 11 (Ethiopian New Year), I hope to officially launch the platform with nonstop programming and 100 products from Black-owned companies (from around the world) that we’ll feature in the 100 days between September 23rd and December 31st….
*THE LONG-TERM GOALS & VISION
My long-term vision is less about milestones, and more about meaning. As I suggested earlier, the significance of being able to convene a live conversation that can be understood, in real time, by the majority of Black people on earth cannot be overstated. In keeping with this privilege, my long-term goal is to become the most culturally potent, Pan-African enterprise the world has ever seen. What Earl Graves and Black Enterprise did with a publication, I hope to do and surpass with this platform. The time has finally come for the global Black community to put it all together, and I fully expect KINZI to be at the heart of this inflection moment. In the not-too-distant future, I truly foresee Black people, all around the world, and all throughout the day - at home, on the bus or plane, on demand, and even as we work, walk, and workout - diving into an ongoing conversation that, in detailed and dynamic ways, is about who we are, where we’ve been, and ultimately where we are going. In some ways, KINZI will be the streaming version of what used to be called Black Twitter. Anytime there is great new book, we’ll be talking about it. Anytime there is a great concert or play or festival, we’ll be talking about it. Anytime there is a new exhibit or conference or expo or opportunity, we’ll be talking about it. Anytime there is a great play in the World Cup or the World Series or the NBA finals or the Olympic Games, we’ll be talking about it. Anytime we get to honor and observe an African holiday or festival or tradition, we’ll be talking about it. Anytime we get a chance to discuss our history and heritage, we’re going to talk about it. And anytime someone special like Oprah or Zendaya or LeBron or Obama tweets something noteworthy (as Obama did the other day regarding the conflict in Palestine), we’ll be talking about it. And through it all, we’ll be supporting and serving entrepreneurs of African descent as we discuss, every hour and literally throughout every single day, the great products and services they are bringing to the world. Wow - what a glorious vision!! I truly can’t wait to get started, and I hope and pray, pray, pray (truly, from the very depths of my soul) that you choose to enjoy this journey with me. One love…