SOUTH AFRICA – Kalon Venture Partners, a venture capital firm, announced a US$1 million investment in Mobiz, a mobile marketing startup, to help it sustain its growth.

Mobiz was founded by chief executive officer Greg Chen and chief technology officer Clark Lin, and has a number of blue-chip, JSE-listed companies among its clientele, says Kalon.

The mobile marketing platform, which operates on a software-as-a-service model, helps clients cost-effectively improve their customer engagement.

According to Kalon, it is highly personalised and targeted to create and enhance customer relationships and increase brand loyalty.

The venture capital firm explains that Mobiz gathers customer behavioural insights to enrich customer relationship management systems or automate follow-up engagements.

The company will use the investment to fund expansion as it looks to grow its footprint in the US and Europe.

Compared with traditional marketing channels (e-mail, paid ads, printed catalogues, etc), Mobiz achieves a four times improved customer engagement rate with 98% open rates and an average of 15% click-through rates, says Kalon, adding its ability to do so has seen it record four times growth since September 2019.

Importantly, it has managed to maintain this growth through the run-up to, and early parts of, South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown, the venture capital firm says.

“It’s no longer enough for brands to tell people why they matter. In today’s world of IOT, brands have to prove why they matter to each and every one of their customers,” says Chen.

“Mobiz believes that personalisation goes beyond your customer’s name and date of birth. With Mobiz, you can ensure your customer experience will be engaging, relevant and appealing.”

“Kalon’s team were impressed with the founders Greg and Clark. We believe they exhibit the exceptional traits we look for when investing in the best entrepreneurs driving disruptive technology businesses,” says Kalon Venture Partners CEO Clive Butkow.

Butkow also commented on the disruptive nature of the Mobiz solution with its targeted marketing campaigns which are deployed to customers within minutes via its integrated SmartSMS channel.

Butkow believes this investment shows the importance of venture capital firms investing in promising start-ups, even when times are tough.

“Mobiz isn’t only the perfect product for this time but will also prove instrumental in helping rebuild in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis,” he says. “VCs [venture capital firms] need to think long-term and take bets on companies that can play a role in regrowing South African business.”