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Personera launches Facebook print calendars

Whoever declared that print was dead may soon have to swallow their words.

Personera, an online-to-offline media technology startup, launched its unique service to Facebook users around the world this week. The company is offering the world’s first print calendar that is fully personalised with a user’s Facebook friends’ birthdays, upcoming events, and photos.

The company says it is also first to launch under the banner of the Silicon Cape initiative, a government and industry endorsed movement to create a global Silicon Valley-style startup culture in Cape Town, South Africa.

Personera’s website allows people to use their Facebook accounts to log in, making all of their social network content instantly available for product personalisation. Users are able to choose a theme, automatically add their friends’ birthdays and events each day, and drag and drop their favorite photos into the monthly layouts. A high quality 12-month, 32-page printed calendar is then delivered to their mailbox anywhere in the world.

This marks a significant shift for the mainstream calendar market, as fast and easy individual personalisation becomes available to more than 300 million mainstream Facebook users worldwide.

The ideas behind Personera were dreamed up by co-founders Sheraan Amod and Jaco de Wet, each of them evangelists in the radically separate worlds of web and print.

“By combining our passion for old and new media, we looked to find the best of both worlds – a simple way to customise print to the same level that people have come to expect online” the pair said in a joint statement. This led to the development of a patent-pending process involving the latest social network and print on-demand technologies, which has become core to the company’s international operations.

Vinny Lingham, CEO of San Francisco based Yola.com, was an early investor in Personera, and now sits on their board.

“I love the fact that Personera is reaching out to consumers in a way that technologists usually miss, by upgrading tangible everyday print products with personal data that has until now, been confined to our digital screens,” said Lingham.

“There is a huge opportunity to extend this service to other types of products, and in doing so spur an evolution of the entire print industry”.

Media24, the largest South African publishing house, has partnered with Personera to add content, such as celebrity photos, to certain products.

“Adding our content and brand style to Personera-made calendars is going to be a hit with our readers who are on Facebook,” said Willem Breytenbach, CEO of Media24 Family Magazines.