Vodacom invests in Zoopy

Breaking news: Zoopy has just reported on their company blog that South African cellular giant Vodacom has acquired a 40% stake in the local video sharing service (they have blogging and photo sharing as well). Vodacom will likely provide the finance and infrastructure Zoopy needs to innovate and grow their community. The synergies between their social platform and Vodacom’s mobile ambitions is another interesting match.
Earlier this year local social networking technology company, BWCOM, was acquired by Naspers. BWCOM owns social networks Blueworld, Zoopedup and GayPeers. Is this the attention the local web startup industry needs to gain more confidence from venture capitalists so entrepreneurs don’t have to sell off large portions of their equity to take their business to the next level?
Congrats to Jason Elk and his team
Here is Voda’s press release

Vodacom, South Africa‘s Leading Cellular Network, today announced that it has secured a stake in Zoopy.com, a South African-based social media community website.
Launched in March 2007, Zoopy.com allows its users to upload and share videos, photos, podcasts and blogs. In just over a year, Zoopy.com have established themselves as a significant player in the user-generated content space in Africa, with Nokia selecting them as their regional imaging partner for South and West Africa. More recently, Zoopy.com was also chosen as Mail & Guardian‘s Online video delivery partner.
This deal will give Vodacom a 40% stake in the South African startup and affirms its change in direction by entering the multimedia market. According to Tlhabeli C Ralebitso, Managing Director, Vodacom Ventures, the investment is an important move at just the right time for both parties. “œZoopy.com has established itself as a key role-player in the online social media arena and has a growing community that will now be able to grow bigger, better and faster.
“œVodacom puts great value in what has been achieved online thus far, and we look forward to combining mobile and internet strengths to create an even more valuable destination for all Zoopy.com users.“
CEO of Zoopy.com, Jason Elk, is pleased at having found the “œperfect partner“. “œAt the beginning of this year we realised that we needed investment to roll out our strategy to its full potential. But from the start we were quite specific about the partner we were looking for.
“œFunding was important, of course, but we wanted our investor to add value to the overall Zoopy.com user experience too. With Vodacom at our side, we‘ll be able to bring many new features and opportunities to both their users and ours. This is exactly what we were looking for and we can‘t wait to make it happen.“

[Disclaimer – Charl Norman is the author of this post, owner of Bandwidth Blog and share holder in BWCOM]