Signed, sealed and delivered: the Mxit/Motribe deal

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Mxit has officially inked the deal to buy social network builder Motribe. We reported a few weeks ago that the deal was in its final stages, we now have confirmation from the mobile social network that it is now the 100% owner of Motribe after buying out the current shareholders 4Di Capital, Nic Haralambous and Vincent Maher.

Motribe has been working closely with Mxit over the last few months building photo-based apps for the platform. The most successful apps include MxPix (an Instagram-style photo sharing and filtering app that hit a million users in just over a month) and JudgeMe, an app that allows people to meet each other by uploading, browsing and judging their photos.

The company was founded by Vincent Maher and Nic Haralambous in 2010 and currently employs a staff of about 10 people. Prior to the Mxit deal, 30% of Motribe was owned by 4Di Capital, an investment firm that invests in early stage tech startups. The firm’s portfolio currently includes Personera, Skyrove, Snapt-UI, BetTech and SMEasy.

According to Justin Stanford, General Partner at 4Di Capital: “This deal is more significant than just a great exit for us and Motribe. It’s one of the first startups founded, funded and exited in the ‘Silicon Cape’ era. It’s a sign that the vision we had in 2009 of fostering a vibrant community of successful, local, technology focused startups is coming to reality. It’s very exciting, and it’s also more good news for venture capital as an emerging asset class in Southern Africa.”

Maher and his team will integrate with Mxit’s community division and together, Mxit’s head of community, Peter Matthaei and Maher will extend the platform and tools available to clients and individuals wishing to create and management community portals on Mxit.

Alan Knott Craig, CEO of Mxit who bought the social network just a year ago, believes that “the community portfolio is huge because it embodies our entire Mxit user base, as well as our ability work with companies to plug into Mxit. Motribe will be taking on the B2B aspect of our business.”

According to the Mxit CEO, the deal made sense as he argues that social network’s “web team is similar in mind-set, tool chain and outlook to Motribe’s development team.” He reckon that the success that Motribe apps have enjoyed on the platform “clearly demonstrated to both companies that there was a lot to be gained from a more formal partnership”.

Key projects that Motribe will take the lead on include the integration of a single Mxit ID across platforms via the Mxit APIs and improving the analytic capability across all community interactions.

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