From Concept to Innovation: Morka Tesfaye's Avetol Shines in Kazana Group's Portfolio of Success
Morka Tesfaye is the CEO and Co-Founder of Avetol. He’s an entrepreneur, a full-stack developer, and a creative designer.
Over the past 3 years, he has built Avetol into Ethiopia’s first video streaming company, focusing on distributing and producing Ethiopian entertainment content. Avetol has become a powerhouse in the streaming industry, revolutionizing how we consume television, movies, and entertainment content.
In an insightful conversation, Kazana delves into Morka Tesfaye’s journey, the challenges he has encountered, and the hardships he has overcome.
The Inception of The Idea
During his days as a computer science student at Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, Morka recalls a time when he observed his fellow students downloading movies and entertainment content late at night while he accessed the university’s Wi-Fi to enhance his skills in his chosen field.
He noticed their strong dedication to watching dramas and movies into the late hours. It was during this moment that the idea to create an Ethiopian counterpart to YouTube sprang into his mind. He believed there was a lack of captivating content on YouTube and any other platforms at that time.
When Morka and his team embarked on this journey, they were recent university graduates with limited knowledge of the entertainment business and the industry as a whole. He often emphasized, “finding the right partner was a significant milestone for Avetol.”
Avetol is a newcomer in the Ethiopian streaming industry, that brings innovation to the sector.
Morka stated, ‘The day I analyzed Kana Television, my perspective changed. I recall my experience as a university student when I couldn’t find a taxi to get home because even the bajaji drivers were engaging in watching one of the popular movies on Kana, that was the moment I truly understood the value of entertainment, and undoubtedly, Kana has been the driving force for all Ethiopian TV channels to become what they are today, also it used to be a household name in our conversations.’
The Startup Ecosystem in Ethiopia
“If you don’t have an ambitious dream, it’s easy to lose hope in our challenging start-up ecosystem.”
Morka pointed out, ‘It’s more accurate to say that we have many opportunities to explore as startups instead of saying there is a startup ecosystem in Ethiopia. There isn’t a readily available startup ecosystem, which means there’s much work to be done, and we need more startups to thrive in our economy.
Embrace challenges, even taking a single step forward can be tough in our economy, but if you’re willing to persevere and trust yourself to keep moving forward, your rate of success can match the scale of the problems you encounter along the way.’
He continued, ‘Let me say, with a population of nearly 120,000,000, imagine, your solution captures 1% of the market size, you’ll have enough users to successfully launch and establish your business for the better. If you’re someone who’s determined to solve a problem, you will also open doors for job seekers and empower others in your sector to perform better, think of how Safaricom revolutionized Ethio Tele (Telebirr).’
Avetol's Impact on The Local Environment
As a digital platform, Avetol is establishing a direct connection between users and content producers.
Morka and his team are working to alter the perception that our movies and entertainment content are seen as ordinary. They are making a notable impact by encouraging creators to invest significantly in production, emphasizing that it should not be treated as average content on their platform.
The Secret to Securing Investment
Morka’s secret to fundraising is having an exceptionally compelling pitch deck. He firmly believes that “after the initial introduction, the crucial step to persuading investors to invest rests squarely on the effectiveness of your pitch deck.”
Being a startup founder presents unique challenges, and here in Ethiopia, those challenges can be even more daunting.”
For him, a fundamental secret to young individuals’ success is the commitment and persistence in pursuing continuous progress on an endless journey.
He emphasized, “Without any special support from the diaspora or anyone else, I am still working with a single laptop. So as a young man, you must persevere even after reaching what may seem unattainable to you.”
What Motivates Him
Morka’s motivation comes from the prospect of making a significant 1% impact in our country while he’s still in his twenties. He remarked, ‘There’s no greater inspiration than connecting with large corporations to work together.’ It fuels his determination to make a substantial impact.
Morka enthusiastically shared that, after years of sacrifices, a crucial moment arrived when Avetol successfully convinced an investor and formed a partnership with Kazana Group to secure the company’s license. This marked a significant turning point in his journey.
From our inclusive interview with Morka Tesfaye, we came to realize that it’s not just about reaching a goal, it’s about appreciating the entire journey we’ve undertaken.
Morka concluded by stating, ‘Without Kazana Group, there would be no Avetol.’
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