To address the ongoing challenges facing independent journalism, this session will explore how philanthropic funders have expanded the spectrum of capital available to support high-quality media as a ...
Harlan Mandel is CEO of Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a mission-driven investment fund providing debt and equity financing to independent news and information companies. MDIF operates in countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America where a free and independent media is under threat. It invests in independent media providing the news, information and debate that people need to build free, thriving societies.
With investments in over 145 media companies in 47 countries since its launch in 1995, MDIF has provided over $290 million in debt and equity investments critical to the growth of many of the preeminent broadcast, print and digital news media across emerging and frontier markets. MDIF currently has over $156 million in assets under management. More than 260 million people around the world get their news from MDIF's current portfolio companies.
Harlan has managed debt and equity investments in over 50 news outlets on five continents. He has extensive experience working in emerging and frontier markets as an impact investment manager and attorney. In his role at MDIF, Harlan has served on the boards of various media companies in Brazil, India, Malaysia, Poland and South Africa.
Harlan also has designed and raised several innovative impact investment vehicles for MDIF, including a series of structured debt issuances through Switzerland's Bank Vontobel in partnership with responsAbility, a debt facility guaranteed by Sida, a private equity fund, and an evergreen holding company, Pluralis. He was MDIF’s Deputy Managing Director from 1998 until his appointment as CEO in 2011. (MDIF was named Media Development Loan Fund until January 2013.)
Before joining MDIF, Harlan served from 1996 to 1998 as Deputy General Counsel of the Open Society Institute. Prior to that, he practiced law in the New York and Los Angeles offices of Morrison & Foerster, specializing in international litigation, intellectual property, and new media law. He received his JD from Columbia University School of Law in 1989 and holds a BA in International Relations and Asian Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.