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News

  • Naspers set to go on Eastern European buying spree

    Emerging markets internet giant Naspers has some serious expansion plans, with an eye on Eastern Europe in particular. Naspers CEO Koos Bekker told Bloomberg that the US$18-billion company was hoping to add between 10 and 20 companies to it's already extensive portfolio of internet businesses. “We see some investment opportunities in the ecommerce space, although opportunities are lower than we’ve had in the past,” Bekker said, adding that the company would take its pick from 100-200 potential acquisitions. That's down from the nearly 300 the company had looked at every year for the past two years. In its earnings...

  • Emerging market fund launched for digital media innovation

    A well-known New York-based fund that focuses on emerging market media has launched an early-stage fund for entrepreneurs developing digital news and information businesses. The fund, called Digital News Ventures, has been launched by the Media Development Loan Fund (MDLF). The MDLF, which operates out of Prague, has invested more than $113-million in 79 independent news companies in 27 countries, mainly emerging markets, since 1995. It backs up all of its debt and equity investments with strategic advice and business assistance. Digital News Ventures will provide early-stage equity finance from $30 000 to $300 000 to entrepreneurs whose ideas...

  • New startup 22seven under fire from banks [Updated]

    The high-profile launch of new financial management startup 22seven has faced some early criticism, from the very institutions it relies on: The banks. Prolific tweeter and CEO of First National Bank (FNB) Michael Jordaan tweeted yesterday that he thought 22seven was a "cool concept", but warned "against disclosing password(s) to any 3rd party". He ended his tweet with this ominous warning: "Risk all yours". Getting tweets re 22seven. Cool concept but have to advise...

  • MIH kills group-buying site Dealify

    Another day, and another Groupon clone bites the dust. After a whirlwind gold-rush to emulate the incredible success of Groupon, there has been nothing but bad news in a recession-hit economy for the hundreds of thousands of group-buying clones out there. (Yes, we know there are exceptions). Emerging markets media and internet giant, Naspers is going to shut down Dealify, its late entry into the group-buying space, after just a few months in existence. "MIH has decided shut down Dealify, that I can confirm," MIH CEO of Platforms Stephen Newton told Memeburn. MIH is the media giant’s investment arm, with...

  • Breaking news: Visa, Fundamo unveil emerging markets MCommerce product

    Visa, the world’s largest credit and debit card network, has unveiled a new product that allows people to access a prepaid account through their mobile phone. The product, which appears to be nameless, was developed in conjunction with Fundamo, a leading South African mobile money platform bought out by Visa for $110m earlier this year. The mobile banking solution is aimed specifically at emerging markets and, according to Visa, offers "unbanked...

  • You better scale up: The ecommerce boom is upon us

    By 2015 companies will generate 50% of their online business via their social presence and mobile applications. This bold claim comes from prominent research company, Gartner. Retailers in the e-commerce sector will begin to offer new context-aware, mobile-based application capabilities that can be accessed via a browser or installed as an application on a phone. This will happen as the number of mobile phones overtakes PCs and as people use mobile browsers...

  • WooThemes launches retail WordPress plugin

    WordPress theme provider WooThemes has launched a new plugin application and library of integrated themes. The company claims that the product, called WooCommerce, will help "individuals and businesses turn WordPress sites into simple, elegant and fully-customisable eCommerce offerings". The South African-based company aims to replace traditional eCommerce CMS platforms and hosted services that require outside expertise to implement. It hopes that companies will instead use WooCommerce to build WordPress-powered shopping sites without the...

  • MTN Mobile Money launches debit card-based online shopping solution

    eCommerce service provider, MTN Mobile Money, has launched a mobile payment mechanism, which will enable users to purchase products online using a debit card. MTN Mobile Money says the mechanism, called payD, will enable millions of South Africans to make secure, online payments using only their pin-based debit cards. It is hoped that payD will provide a boost to South Africa's lagging ecommerce market. World Wide Worx's Online Retail in SA 2011 report shows that retail ecommerce hit R2 billion last year. "This sounds big", says Dave Parratt, head of new business development at MTN Mobile Money, "but it’s...

  • What the web thinks of eBay’s Magento buyout

    When auction giant eBay announced this week that it was buying out the well-known ecommerce platform Magento, reaction was varied. In announcing the buyout eBay President and CEO John Donahoe stated that Magento would merge with the company’s own open source, online retailing platform X.Commerce. Precisely how X.Commerce will work, and what part Magento has to play in it will only be revealed in October during eBay’s X.Commerce Innovate Conference. Here’s what...

  • InMobi launches global mobile payment solution, ad network combo

    InMobi, a large, global independent mobile ad network, has announced the launch of a performance-based global mobile payments solution it is calling SmartPay. The company says this offering is "a first" because it combines InMobi’s large global ad network of nearly 32-billion ads monthly in 200 countries with a mobile payments solution. The company says that tracking from ad to conversion is a "major leap forward" for developers and digital goods providers globally. ...