South Africa’s Mobiz nabs $4m to expand personalized SMS marketing into the US. In 2014 two passionate digital marketers with a wealth of mobile experience founded Mobiz and introduced an innovative way of thinking about mobile marketing.
Mobiz has taken mobile communication and engagement to the next level by building a new technology that effortlessly incorporates hyper-personalization into dynamic landing pages.
HAVAC, Futuregrowth, Launch Africa, Allan Gray E-Squared Ventures, CapaciTech, and Endeavor’s Harvest Fund have all invested in its pre-Series A round of $ 4 million.
The funding comes as the company prepares to grow into the United States and increase its marketing, sales, and account management activities. A portion of the funds will be utilized to hire new employees in South Africa and to support the company’s commercial expansion into the US.
After seven years, the company has over 100 clients, including MultiChoice, Experian, HomeChoice, and New Balance.
According to Mobiz’s website, 98 percent of SMS messages provided by the company are read within three minutes.
The company said that these messages range from offers and specials and loyalty programs to crisis communication and ticket sales.
Mobiz is focusing on offering its service to small and medium businesses after gaining a considerable market share in the South African SMS marketing industry. The intended market, however, is the United States, not the African country where the company started. The company sees potential in the small and medium business sector in the United States, according to Chen, because “its solution is easy to use and fit for the enormous market opportunity in the United States.
We see an opportunity in the way we’ve disrupted our space in South Africa. As a result, we’d like to assist a large number of SMBs in quickly creating stunning client encounters that are tailored at scale and clickable on their platforms. That is our premise, and we are very optimistic that it will be realized.”
According to a survey by Grandview Research, the SMB market in the United States is estimated to reach $12.5 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 20.3 percent.
Part of this rise, according to Chen, is due to the ineffectiveness of email marketing in the United States (similar to SMS marketing in Africa), where clients are bombarded and spammed.
In the US, however, SMS marketing has more value because users must give permission to receive regular SMS messages from marketers and businesses. Customers who give them access genuinely want to engage, which is good news for these businesses.
“This has changed the way marketers think about things now that they no longer believe that more is better.” Now it’s about connecting to the individuals who truly want to buy from you, investing more money to acquire them in a consent-based manner, and then engaging with a very high return investment in the most direct channel, which is SMS,” stated the CEO.
Because of the information obtained from templates used on the platform, small and medium enterprises, such as a coffee shop, can quickly learn which type of coffee 100+ clients prefer. These firms’ conversions, results, sales, and engagement rates all improve as a result of this dynamic and rapid personalization.
The startup is launching this month, with more than 200 beta users in the United States presently using the platform.
Partner at HAVAC Grant Rock, an early backer of the startup, said his firm has been very impressed with Mobiz’s performance in South Africa. However, as the company expands beyond borders, it will have to consider pricing as it competes with incumbents such as Textedly and TextMagic. Its subscription fee starts at $29 per month and increases depending on the number of SMS businesses and marketers want to send.
Chen also mentions that now that the company is fully focused on the US market, plans are in the works to raise a new Series A round in the coming months.