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The past few months have been more than a little turbulent for M4JAM, the high-profile micro-jobbing startup. In March, users were told to cash out as founder Andre Hugo scrambled to find a way to save the business. The in May, it was revealed that the company had been bought out and that Hugo and his fellow co-founder Warren Venter would play no further part in the business.
At the time, it was unclear who the buyers were, but we can now reveal that Informal Solutions is the company behind the acquisition.
As subsidiary of DNI, Informal Solutions specialises in marketing products for the South African informal sector.
According to a press release sent to Ventureburn, the acquisition is designed to help turn Informal Solution’s plan to “build an active ecosystem that attracts and retains members by virtue of its real and immediate value, into a reality”.
“We were looking to add product to our existing proposition and required a channel to reach our market more dynamically,” says Informal Solutions chair Andy Payne. “We were building our own platform when we came across M4JAM. We then realised their application was a near perfect match to our requirements, but with a lot of added appeal.”
According to Payne, M4JAM was a good acquisition fit because its “jobs on demand” model is likely to become increasingly relevant: “I expect the formal job market to embrace this trend as, for a lot of us, it will become a necessity just to cover essentials,” he says.
Informal Solutions CEO Richard Dunn believes that M4JAM has the potential to make a serious dent in South Africa’s chronic unemployment problem.
“Through the M4JAM platform, we have the potential to be one of the biggest job creators in South Africa,” he says. “We will positively contribute towards addressing the terrible social issues that come with unemployment and underemployment. Too much talent is lost (permanently), through the youth of this country not having any real commercial opportunity. By building this ecosystem we plan to take this issue head-on.”
Informal Solutions has announced plans to add a number of new features to the M4JAM platform and is currently crowdsourcing new features.
“Our intention is to give our jobbers a voice and allow them to be part of the exciting new direction that M4JAM is embarking on,” says Dunn.