VENTURES: Cheque Mate At Venfin
Recent Western Cape Business News
STELLENBOSCH-based venture capital investor InVenfin, which is part of the Rupert family controlled Remgro group, has latched onto a couple of intriguing deals.
Even though it launched in 2008 under a tagline that stated “no investment is too small for InVenFin”, the venture capital investment company was given scant chance of finding promising projects in the shadow of its ‘big brother’ Venfin (which soon officially becomes part of Remgro).
With R50 million allocated for new investments, InVenfin has surprised the sceptics by clinching investments in an online pay-per-click advertising platform called Ad Dynamo (35%) and in a Cape based online chess community called ChessCube.
Ad Dynamo looks particularly promising with pay-per-click advertising generating revenue by serving adverts to websites and charging fees if the advert is clicked on.
Already media reports reckon Ad Dynamo could be shaping up to take on Google’s well-know advertising service – something that should quickly test the mettle of Ad Dynamo’s business model.
According to reports, Ad Dynamo already serves about 40 million adverts per month on more than 150 000 local websites.
Last month InVenfin participated in a $1.25 million (R10 million) funding exercise at ChessCube.
At first glance that sounds like an awful amount of money to invest into what might be construed as the domain of egg-heads. But ChessCube has 650 000 unique users scattered across the world – which suggests there is some critical mass in this offering.
But presumably fee income will only be earned once the chess community is convinced that there is an online playing platform worthy of subscription.
But some influential investors – besides InVenfin – are backing ChessCube.
Vinny Lingham, CEO of San Francisco-based Yola.com, said InVenfin’s investment highlighted the potential of Cape Town as the technology hub of Africa or ‘Silicon Cape’.
Lingham says ChessCube has enormous potential to dominate the massive global chess players’ market.
“The partnership between ChessCube.com and InVenfin will allow ChessCube.com to become the most recognised and loved online brand for chess enthusiasts.”
Technologically, ChessCube has already notched up a major success in its recent sponsorship of the 2009 South African Open.
At this event ChessCube ensured - for the first time in history – that grandmasters and masters participated from a second venue in Melbourne, Australia.
ChessCube ensured that the games, which were played across the Internet, were officially rated - setting a new precedent that could see tournaments using this technology in the future.
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