• BURN MEDIA
    • Memeburn
      Tech-savvy insight and analysis
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

Mxit

  • Mxit claims social network world first with ‘A Lucky Man’ premiere

    This is very cool. Africa’s largest mobile social network Mxit is getting its own full-length feature film. The film, called A Lucky Man, tells the story of Ernie ‘Lastig’ Solomon, a legendary ex-gang boss, from the Cape Flats, an expansive, low-lying, flat area situated to the southeast of the central business district of Cape Town. Written and directed by Gordon Clarke, A Lucky Man follows Solomon on his search for identity and belonging in a society smothered by crime, violence and abuse. Mxit users can download the movie, which it claims is the first full-length feature film to premiere...

  • Tencent’s WeChat looking to enter South African market with a bang

    This is potentially very big. Chinese internet giant Tencent is looking to take its massively successful instant messaging service WeChat to South Africa, where it will take on the likes of Mxit, Africa’s largest mobile social network. WeChat has seen phenomenal growth in recent times. Last week, Tencent revealed that the company has passed the 300-million user mark, with the last 100-million having joined in the past three months. Much of that growth has been outside of China, with the service finding particular favour in other Asian markets. Now though, it looks like Tencent has its eyes set further...

  • Leaner Mxit plans to ‘double’ user base in next year amid staff retrenchments

    Amid news that mobile social network was laying off nearly a third of its staff, Mxit has revealed that it plans to double its user base in the next year. Late last week employees from the mobile social network revealed that they had been offered retrenchment packages in what was apparently a cost-cutting exercise by the company. The company today confirmed that some 41 of its staff members had accepted voluntary retrenchments. Mxit’s acting-CEO, Francois Swart says however that the cut-backs were part of an attempt to focus on growing the social network’s user base: We have...

  • Mxit Launch: social integration finally hits the platform

    It’s about time. It seems Mxit has finally wised up to the rest of the world and has announced a social monitoring tool dubbed Mxit Launch. The new product allows brands and communities to get on to the platform. In essence, it will give social media and community managers a chance to include Mxit in their overall strategy. “This tool set is perfect for brands and community owners wanting to easily and quickly build a presence on Mxit,” says Vincent Maher, VP product strategy and growth at Mxit. According to the company, the browser-based product, which is free, enables community...

  • New Mxit app brings Google Maps to feature phones

    Well… here’s one way to get Google Maps on your iPhone. The innovation arm of digital agency Native has released a navigation app built using the Maps API that allows any one of Mxit’s millions of users to access Google’s mapping service with minimal data charges. The directions app, called GetThere, works on feature phones and smartphones alike, and is available for free from Tradepost. Despite the largely text-based nature of Mxit, the app is surprisingly quick to use — you simply enter in a starting address and destination, pick walking or driving directions, and GetThere plans your route...

  • The Mxit mix-up: the rise and fall of Alan Knott-Craig Jnr

    The Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter at Mxit’s Wonderland By Michelle Atagana and Matthew Buckland Just over a year ago, on a rainy August morning, Alan Knott-Craig Jnr took a long walk along a river bank in Stellenbosch with Herman Heunis, the founder of Mxit, Africa’s largest mobile social network. They were sharing an umbrella and engaging in small talk. Towards the end of the walk, Knott-Craig broke the news to Heunis that he had been unable to raise enough money through his venture capital firm, World of Avatar, to buy Mxit. He felt he’d lost his chance when Heunis...

  • What Alan Knott-Craig’s departure means for brand Mxit: An insider’s view

    Until three weeks ago Frans De Villiers worked at Mxit as a special marketing project manager. He explains what life under Alan Knott-Craig Junior was like and how his departure could affect Mxit as a brand. Alan Knott-Craig Junior was Mxit’s Barack Obama. He rocked up at the scene at a time when the brand was certainly on the down. By no means am I implying that former CEO Herman Heunis was George W Bush, I regard him as a visionary tech leader who built an amazing company, but let’s be honest: the company had lost a lot of...

  • Alan Knott-Craig Jnr steps down as CEO of Mxit

    Investor Alan Knott-Craig Jnr has stepped down as CEO of Africa’s largest mobile social network, Mxit. The company, which has just received a R100 million investment by shareholders, announced the move today. Mxit, which was acquired by Knott-Craig Jnr late last year, is available in 128 countries. It is represented in international markets that include Malaysia, Kenya, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, United States, Nigeria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, where users have access to Mxit’s chat function. “While the shareholders and I share the same vision, we differ on how to get there. Therefore, I agreed to go...

  • Attention app developers: the Mxit User API is here

    Developers, Mxit lovers, we have good news for you. With the release of Mxit’s new User API, you are now able to develop social apps for the Mxit platform. What type of apps can you build? Any app that benefits from the Mxit community’s user profile data, social graph, pictures and video. Just like Facebook though, Mxit users have the ability to control whenever their non-public personal information is shared with an app. The Mxit API is grouped into three categories. First, the aptly named “Profile” category allows developers to pull out profile information as well as do things like retrieve...

  • Alan Knott-Craig Jr on birthing World of Avatar, sealing the Mxit deal

    In the third and final extract from his book “Mobinomics”, South African entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig Jr details how he took World of Avatar from concept to company. As was the case with some of his previous ventures, there were speedbumps along the way. At one point Knott-Craig had less than R2 000 to his name and kept the business afloat with emergency loans. Slowly though, things began to turn around, until he was ready to make another play for Mxit: Africa’s largest social network. Things began to move at the speed of lightning. Pete’s development team moved to Stellenbosch, bringing Mobicanvas,...

  • Alan Knott-Craig Jr on missing his first shot at Mxit, founding World of Avatar

    In the second in a series of extracts from his book “Mobinomics”, South African entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig Jr reflects on the first encounter he had with Mxit founder Herman Heunis. At that stage the company was worth a lot less than Knott-Craig would eventually end up paying for it. He also describes the bits of luck, opportunities, cups of coffee, and marital difficulties that put him on the path to leaving wireless broadband company iBurst and starting World of Avatar — the group of startups that would come to include Mxit in its list of properties. ...

  • Alan Knott-Craig Jr: How I nearly missed out on buying Mxit

    In the first of a series of extracts from the opening chapter of his new book “Mobinomics”, South African-based entrepreneur Alan Knott Craig Jr speaks about what it was about Mxit — the massively popular youth-based social network he now owns — that turned him into “an evangelist, an unpaid, unofficial ambassador for the network”. He also offers a glimpse of the respect he has for the company’s former owner Herman Heunis and how difficult it was to turn down opportunities for a stake in Mxit. Twice. Run a small business. Find a job. Educate a child....

  • SA govt runs to MXit to engage younger crowd

    It has become commonplace for politicians to engage audiences through social media. Whatever your views may be on the efficacy of, or motives behind these campaigns, one thing is clear, the public can engage with candidates and those in office like never before. MXit is a South African social media success story, the largest network of its kind in Africa. On the eve of Freedom Day, a significant South African public holiday which...

  • Hey MXit, where’s the share button?

    MXit, the free instant messaging and social media platform, has been in the news lately, primarily because it was acquired by World of Avatar, a South African investment group lead by Alan Knott Craig Junior, last year. Where MXit has excelled in the pre-smartphone market has been in connecting to other services like Yahoo, ICQ, Google Talk and Facebook while operating on the relatively cheap GPRS packet oriented mobile data service. Prior to BlackBerry and its infamous BBM free instant messaging service, people between the age of 10 and 18 used the service to connect with their friends and chat in...

  • The new MXit: A focus on social media, smartphones and African expansion

    New CEO Alan Knott-Craig is ringing the changes at MXit, a key emerging market mobile social network. Recently it was announced the company’s restructure would mean more focus, innovation and job losses. Knott-Craig bought MXit a few months ago for an undisclosed sum from founder Herman Heunis and emerging markets internet giant Naspers. The mobile youth messaging service operates in 128 countries. It is represented in international markets that include Malaysia, Kenya, India, Indonesia, United Kingdom, United States, Nigeria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, where users have access to MXit’s chat function. MXit’s users currently send...