I’m glad to finally be able to announce the incuBeta has finalised a transaction with Mark Shuttleworth’s Venture Capital company, HBD.Â The details of the deal are highlighted in the press release below and the total value of the investment is R25m or c. US $3.7m.Â The capital will enable us to grow rapidly across global markets.Â We will be making a few more announcements over the next few weeks, relating to how we intend to utilize the capital, but all I can say for now is that exciting times are in store!
Congratulations to the entire incuBeta team (and all our partners & clients) for taking our business to the level that makes this transaction possible – it’s hard to believe we’re in our 4th year of business already!
VC FUNDING BOOST FOR AWARD-WINNING SA ENTREPRENEURS
Cape Town, January 31, 2007: Top Technology 100 winners and internet marketing pioneers, incuBeta, this week received the first R15-million installment from a new R25-million investment from Mark Shuttleworthâ€™s HBD Venture Capital. Already positioned at the forefront of the search engine marketing game, the South African entrepreneurs will use the investment to expand incuBetaâ€™s presence in the US and UK and progress its growth strategy which aims to ultimately list on the Johannesburg or London stock exchange.
incuBeta was founded four years ago by SA entrepreneur Vinny Lingham who recognised the opportunity represented by bidding on Google keyword searches and advertising products and services related to each keyword. The business grew quickly and today it has 50 staff, offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London and turnover of over R50-million a year.
Giles Douglas, CEO of incuBeta said the investment would allow several goals to become reality. â€œOur first priority is to open offices in the heartland of technology in Silicon Valley in California so we can be closer to our major search partners, Google and Yahoo, and our US clients. We are already a major virtual player and a physical presence in the States will allow us to build a stronger brand and accelerate our growth prospects. We will also strengthen our European presence. We ultimately plan to list on either the Johannesburg or London stock exchange within the next 24 months and this funding will assist in this growth strategy.â€
Eben van Heerden, Portfolio Manager of HBD Venture Capital â€“ one of the few true venture capital firms in South Africa â€“ said, â€œWe are very excited about this investment. This is a truly South African company with no real local competition. It is rated as one of the top three internet marketing companies in the world by Commission Junction, part of the Nasdaq-listed ValueClick Inc. The company has developed robust technology in-house and this provides the perfect platform to achieve future expansion.Â incuBetaâ€™s clients include many of the biggest online retailers in the world and it operates one of the worldâ€™s most sophisticated keyword bid management software systems. We plan to work closely with incuBeta to ensure exponential growth happens quickly.â€
Douglas said that search engine marketing was growing at over 40 percent per annum â€“ particularly since the advent of Web2.0 which has changed the internet from a tool used largely for information purposes to an interactive social arena. â€œGoogle is the fastest growing company of all time, and is at the forefront of search and more recently Web2.0. Its turnover is derived predominantly from auctioning keywords for searches which allow merchants to link advertising or marketing campaigns to each specific search. It allows for highly targeted advertising campaigns and is the preferred marketing method for most online merchants.â€
He said, â€œincuBeta bids on millions of different keyword combinations and links targeted advertisements for its clients to each keyword combination. We currently place over 50 million targeted adverts every month. In the next few years we expect to see search engine marketing moving from personal computers onto mobile phones, television and even in-car navigation systems.Â We aim to be at the forefront of these technological changes – and the investment by HBD will help us achieve this.â€
Douglas said that incuBeta would remain a South African company. â€œWe will keep our headquarters in South Africa and have recently launched incuBeta Consulting in response to local demand for our expertise. The core focus of the consulting business will be to transfer our knowledge of search engine marketing and other Web2.0 trends to other South African companies that are interested in enhancing their brand online. This will enable them to reap real business benefits from the many possibilities which the internet offers.â€
Van Heerden concluded that he hoped incuBetaâ€™s success would inspire more South Africans to take the entrepreneurial plunge. â€œAll too often, we are put off â€˜going it aloneâ€™ because we believe that our ideas must have already been done abroad â€“ this is often not the case and we encourage local talent with business ideas to explore these to the full. Many of the leading economies of the world were built on small-to-medium size enterprises so this is a definite priority for South Africaâ€™s future growth.â€
For more information visit www.hbd.com or www.incubeta.com