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    September 5, 2008

    Breaking news: MIH acquires Afrigator

    Moments ago Bandwidth Blog got the scoop in the latest South African internet acquisition. MIH Print Africa have acquired a majority stake in African blog aggregator Afrigator. This will be huge for the local startup as MIH Africa has investments all over Africa which will help Afrigator reach a larger audience in the African continent. The acquisition also means funding to market and further develop the Afrigator platform. With large internet audiences in SA, Kenya, Egypt and Nigeria Afrigator is in a great position to gain critical mass by combining the audience (bloggers, readers) in these countries. MIH Africa’s objective is to build audiences and communities in Africa and with Afrigator’s platform they can launch into the emerging market to quickly gain market share and also leverage Afrigators existing base.

    “We could not have chosen a better partner in MIH Print Africa as their strategy for Africa aligns perfectly with ours and is an important development for the social media space across our continent – validating the importance of blogging and social media in Africa.”

    We have covered Afrigator extensively in the past with their beta and mobile launches. Development of Afrigator has been at a good pace considering the team worked on their project part time. The majority stake acquisition opens the doors for the founders to work on the project full time. Two of the minds behind Afrigator, Justin Hartman (Avusa iLab) and Stii Pretorius , will be moving down to Cape Town to develop Afrigator full time.

    Below: Stii (right) already settled in the MIH Africa offices.

     stii.jpg

    This means together with funding and gaining access to a larger audience, Afrigator’s platform will also quickly evolve with dedicated development resources. The guys at Afrigator have created a great product in their spare time – its exciting to think what they will build focused on their startup full time.

    “Fundamentally this deal is hugely beneficial to all our users as we can all finally focus on Afrigator full-time. We have also employed Lester Hein as our Product Manager who will join the team at the beginning of October and we plan to expand our development team in the near future. “

    The acquisition comes as no surprise with investments by 24.com in local social networking company, Blueworld, and minority stake acquisition by cellular giant Vodacom in local social platform Zoopy.

    Cape Town has been dubbed ‘Silicon Cape’ (named after Silicon Valley) and is really living up to the title. All the top talent in SA is moving to the Cape with tons of quality startups and innovation coming out of the mother city. Investment for local startups have been scarce to come by and with deals such as Blueworld, Zoopy and now Afrigator it really helps with investor confidence. There is now scope for startups to grow profitable businesses and investors to exit and get return on investment.

    The Naspers group’s social media strategy has also really taken off in recent months with local internet guru Matt Buckland moving to 24.com as GM of online publishing and social media (Laaik.it, play.24.com, Spaces, 24.com blogs etc), Rafiq Phillips moving to MIH Swat and then the acquisitions of Blueworld and Afrigator.

    Kudos to the Afrigator guys – Mike, Stii, Justin and Mark – for the scoop and acquisition news!

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    MIH Swat office photos

    Disclaimer: Charl Norman is co-founder of Blueworld and works within the Naspers/MIH/24 group. Afrigator’s future strategy explained in this post is mere speculation on my behalf.

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