South Africa's Mobiz nabs $4m to expand personalized SMS marketing into the US
Mobiz, a South African startup integrating hyper-personalization into mobile marketing, has raised a pre-Series A round of $ 4 million from HAVAÍC, Futuregrowth, Launch Africa, Allan Gray E-Squared Ventures, CapaciTech and Endeavor’s Harvest Fund.
The investment comes as the startup is ramping up efforts to expand into the U.S. and double down on marketing, sales and account management. Part of the investment will be used to hire more staff in South Africa and support the commercial expansion to the U.S.
Mobiz works as a code-free tool that helps marketers, enterprises and SMBs create and send SMS campaigns to their customers without any marketing experience. CEO Greg Chen founded the company in 2014 came from his 15-year span in the mobile industry, noticing how enterprises in South Africa struggled to target and engage their customers via SMS efficiently.
“In South Africa and Africa general, there are a lot of companies using SMS marketing, but it’s not giving any value to them because they lack digital marketing skills, so we came to enable businesses to deliver personalized digital content via a personal landing page that can be built easily within the Mobiz platform and deliver on the SMS channel.”
Seven years in, the company works with more than 100 brands, such as MultiChoice, Experian, HomeChoice and New Balance. Per data from Mobiz’s website, SMS messages delivered by the company are read within three minutes with a 98% open rate.
The company said that these messages range from offers and specials and loyalty programs to crisis communication and ticket sales.
Having gained a significant market share in the South African SMS marketing space, Mobiz is turning its sights on providing its service to small and medium businesses. However, the target market is in the U.S. and not the African country where the company started. According to Chen, the company sees potential in the U.S.’ small and medium business market because “its product is easy to use and suited for the big market opportunity in the U.S.”