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Monitise Announces Acquisition of Markco Media Businesses

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that UK-based mobile money technology provider Monitise announced that it had acquired Markco Media Limited. The acquisition deal included the transfer of two of Marko Media’s holdings, namely MyVoucherCodes.co.uk and Last Second Tickets brands. The estimated cost of the acquisition is 24.5 million. The acquisition of these brands is expected to immediately secure Monitise’s international mobile commerce brand as an industry leader. These recent purchases, added to Monitise’s current Buy Anything mobile commerce product, effectively connect a global network of over 60,000 brands and retailers to mobile consumers.

MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, a premier daily deals and coupon site, brings with it a major list of high-level clients including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Argos, Thomson Holidays, Sky, Currys B&Q, Walmart, Tesco, Target, The Home Depot, Amazon and Carrefour. It is estimated that MyVoucherCodes.co.uk has contracts with 80 percent of the leading online retailers in the UK. They also bring substantial B2B and B2C business from the U.S., Germany, France and Brazil.

Last Second Tickets provides discounted tickets for live music, entertainment events and other leisure venues. It works primary with the venues, promoters and producers to arrange for discounted packages and then markets these packages to consumers via its sites. Monitise plans to display content and deals from both of the acquired companies via its massive mobile consumer base. Monitise already allows over 28 million consumers to purchase products, make payments or initiate bank transactions from any mobile device. Their products account for $71 billion of money transfers and payments each year.

Completion of the acquisition will be based on the issuance of 43,729,676 new ordinary shares at a value of 1p each commencing at 8:00 a.m. on June 27, 2014. This will bring Monitise’s total ordinary issued shares to 1,931,699,697.

Monitise’s Chief Commercial Officer, Lee Cameron, stated that as a leading industry player, Montise links consumers to retailers using a combination of innovation and technology. He stated that rather than building these technologies from scratch, purchasing them allowed them to get the solution to the market quicker. The technology has eight years of successful implementation behind it.

Regarding the acquisition of Markco Media, its founder Mark Pearson reiterated that mobile purchasing technology continues to play an integral role in monetary transactions as consumers use smart phones and tablets. He expressed excitement at joining Monitise’s growing mobile platform of products to further fill this market need.

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Single Domain could be worth £10m

An Internet address with only three letters and four total characters could bring as much as ten million pounds in an auction freeing up some of the UK’s prime Internet real estate.

The address, X.uk, is currently owned by insurance entrepreneur Simon Burgess. Burgess sold British Insurance, which specialised in payment protection, to Towergate for £25m ($41 million) in 2008. He currently heads British Money Limited, an unemployment insurance provider, but trades in web addresses as a sideline. If it does sell for £10m, that price would rank it among the top ten most expensive addresses online. Sex.com sold for £8.3m ($13.9 million) in 2010 and Insurance.com set the world record at £21.2m ($35.3 million) the same year.

Nominet, the non-profit company that controls the UK’s web address system, decided earlier this year to allow people or companies to expand by not requiring a category name like “.co” before the “.uk” suffix, but its decision to allow .uk addresses was criticised by industry insiders who felt it could devalue the UK’s existing Web real estate and create trademark headaches for their owners. But since Burgess already owned X.co.uk, he had first rights to the X.uk name.

Burgess told UK newspaper The Telegraph that, “We think x.uk is uniquely valuable. A is for aardvark and Z is for Zulu but X can be anything. I’ve already had an offer of more than £5m from a very large organisation, which I turned down.” He also noted that there are only 36 four-character addresses possible when combining 26 letters and 10 numbers. Burgess also informed the Telegraph he had also been approached by Chinese interests about purchasing the address due to the letter X appearing frequently in Latinised Chinese names, and also said he was in advanced negotiations with the online dating service Match.com to sell it to kiss.co.uk.

Paying that much for a one-character Web address may seem a bit strange, but in the age of social media, space means money; Twitter limits each post to 140 characters or less, making each character saved on an Internet address one more for marketing and company branding. Companies like Bit.ly and ls.gd have flourished by shortening Web addresses specifically to deal with social media.

With the naming regulations shifting in the next few years, companies are beginning to look carefully at their Internet address names; major brands and corporations will soon be able to create and use their own Internet suffixes. Google has already announced plans to use Web addresses ending in “.youtube” and “.google”, meaning that more generic names ending in “.uk” or “.com” may not be worth as much in the future.

Currently Nominet has revised its plan so .co.uk owners will have a five-year right of refusal on the equivalent .uk address. It says shorter links will appeal to businesses and consumers, old addresses will still work and it will bring Britain into line with France and Germany’s Internet address system, which offer .fr and .de. Comedian and presenter Stephen Fry was the first Briton to make the switch, telling fans, “”Fret no more, people of Britain. The day of .uk is upon us.”

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Advantages of Using Bitcoins for Buying and Selling of Goods or Services

Many online businesses today are now accepting bitcoins as payment for goods and services. This can offer many advantages to both the buyer and seller of these items. Bitcoins are a virtual or digital form of currency not associated with a particular country or agency. This form of currency has no middleman involved in the transactions. This can be helpful in reducing fees for transactions and gives the users of the system control over their money and transactions.

The concept for bitcoins was first developed in the late 90s. This type of currency is not based on precious metals or coins like most monetary systems, rather bitcoins are based on finite cryptographic algorithms. Since no one can create new bitcoins, their value is often considered more stable than other types of monetary systems.

One of the most common ways for a person to obtain bitcoins is by selling goods or services and accepting this type of virtual currency as payment. However, various types of exchanges and other methods can be used to convert monetary funds into bitcoins. This can include buying bitcoins through a bank transfer, with a money order, cheque or charging a purchase to a telephone number. These types of transactions can be carried out through various websites where these options are offered for a fee. Many people may also choose to buy from other users who are attempting to sell their bitcoins.

A person who decides to use bitcoins will first need to download software and set up a virtual wallet where there bitcoins can be saved. Users will not need to provide any type of ID, address or other information. They can be from any country and the account can be anonymous.

Users will need to choose a software client to be able to use their bitcoins. There are a number of types of clients available for this type of application. When choosing one, it is important to select an application designed for the type of system one plans to use when accessing their bitcoins. Some applications work only on a computer, while others are designed for use with a phone or other type of mobile device. In addition, some clients are web based. This can be a great advantage as a person can retrieve their wallet regardless of whether they are on a mobile device or computer.

When setting up the software, the program will walk the user through setting up a wallet for their transactions. A person can set up more than one wallet if needed so they can keep their purchases and sales organized. Once the wallet is set up, the program will assign an address to be used when one is receiving bitcoins from other users. It is a good idea to keep wallets password protected and to back up one’s data regularly so there is no danger of being locked out of the account or loosing account information.

While there are many websites that provide services for bitcoin users, such as selling bitcoins, providing means to transfer bitcoins into an account or managing the wallets used, it is important to be careful and only use well-recognised sources to ensure they are valid websites. This will help in making sure the transactions made will be safe and secure.

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New Education App Gets a Million Dollar Capital Investment

The newest education app is now up and running. Gojimo touts itself as an all in one learning application for studying. The app is part of the genius of George Burgess, who started his first company, EducationApps Ltd at the age of 17 in 2009. The product started out as a series of stand-alone applications.

In the interim, Burgess went on to Stanford University in California only to drop out after three semesters. He said that he wanted to focus on his startup. Shortly afterward Burgess began to consolidate all of his previous apps into the Gojimo app. The initial version of this application was released in January of 2014.

Index Ventures looked ahead to the potential for this product and injected $1 million worth of seed capital into Gojimo on hopes of the application gaining ground among students in both the UK and the US. Index Ventures convinced JamJars Investment to join in the million-dollar enterprise. There are plans to expand the application beyond the UK and US markets at some point. Index Ventures specializes in information technology and life sciences companies throughout the EU and US.

As of now Burgess has landed some big hitters in the textbook publishing business including Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Oxford University Press. The Gojimo app allows students to access relevant textbooks aligned to their particular coursework. Apple attempted this venture a couple of years ago to go with textbooks online through iBooks. Gojimo hopes to take this app to another level as Burgess moves to develop his app in the coming months.

The plan is to make Gojimo an all in one application for students, teachers, and learning institutions. Students will be able to access content from the world’s leading textbook publishers. Students will be able to access study guides and online quizzes from content publishers.

Slated for release in March of 2014, students who have the same class will be able to read announcements and complete assignments in an online environment provided that the teacher of the course is using the application. Gojimo plans to release the social aspect of the platform that will allow students to communicate and collaborate with each other. Burgess said he wants the app to be engaging to students and envisions gamifying the program so students will also be able to challenge each other with quizzes. He sees students keeping track of successes with a posted leader board.

As of right now the Gojimo app is available in the Apple App Store. It requires that the user has iOS 7.0 or greater installed. Devices currently supported are the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. The app itself is free, and there are dozens of in-app purchase opportunities for textbooks, quizzes, and study guides. The test preparation materials are geared more for the UK student audience at the present but with any hope this will expand to the US market nicely.

Gojimo should be ready for the Android market in September of 2014, hopefully in time for the start of the school year. But like anything else, great adventures take time to unravel.

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Father & Son team make it on eBay

Martyn and Will Ress noticed that there were not that many people selling wooden worktops to customers, so the father and son team decided to go online and launch their own business. They noted that B&Q and MFI both took dives on the high street, and now there was an opening for an enterprising team. However, at the time they did not have a market to sell their own products so instead they turned to eBay for help. They first ventured onto the auction site in 2009 and today they hold the largest share in the market.

Martyn Rees owned a company that supplied cabinets and worktops to the high street retailers and his son Will specialised in selling skateboards via the eBay auction format. The duo decided to take their strengths and create a new Direct Online Services company. Will Rees stated that they had the best timing possible because they waited until MFI went into redundancy and then immediately purchased the bankrupt stock and since it was his dad’s main customer before the insolvency they already had a full list of contacts to get started with.

It was also the peak time for eBay which made it easy for the pair to start creating worktops that they could sell direct to consumers without any actual physical retail space. Martyn explained that it did not cost them anything upfront to get started and since they only got charged 5-10% once a listing sold it was an easy way to get their items onto the market without worrying about overheads.

The pair have gotten so large today that they even had a feature written about them in the Telegraph detailing how they took advantage of eBay and the disappearance of their rivals to get ahead in the wooden worktop market. They knew that customers were heading online to look for great deals and a great bargain, and so the Rees made sure that they gave it them.

They specialised in creating solid oak products and were able to sell the items at a high margin because even at high profit margins the items were still much less then they would be on the high street. This large profit margin allowed them to quickly scale their business and purchase more and more. Martyn stated that they had no idea that they were quickly going to see such a large return come out of what they thought would be a small private business venture on eBay.

Today their prime customers are still DIY consumers that want to source their own products or fix up their own kitchens. In the recession many people decided to fix up their homes instead of attempting to get credit for a new mortgage, and as a result they have seen a large surge in people looking to save some money with DIY kitchen projects. They built on the success of their solid oak worktops and capitalised on this DIY spirit by adding luxury kitchens, cabinets, and direct to trade products to suppliers.

A great way to market your business is via email, email marketing has a high success rate. Obtaining Data Lists is a great way to get your business in front of the right people, buying the correct targets from the outset will save you time and, most probably, money.

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