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Jamiix: The Cape Flats startup that’s going global

Jamiix, a brand new social-media aggregator that was developed on Cape Town’s notoriously under-resourced and impoverished Cape Flats is launching internationally with grand ambitions to become an integral part of the Web 2.0 landscape.

The web and mobile-based tool is described as a “distribution and aggregation technology to engage with clients who are in need of support services”. It grew organically out of a desire for affordable communications in the area of social services, which is a chronic need on the Cape Flats.

Developed over two years, it takes its name from “Jamii”, the Swahili word for social or community and the “X” in exchange, thus defining their intentions to be a social exchange for users.

The tool that this startup has developed is used to manage multiple conversations from different social media and instant messaging platforms.

The company recognised that organisations and businesses in the developing world are often thwarted by the high costs of telephony, and many resort to the more affordable use of text messages, instant messaging and social networking sites to interact with customers, funders and partners.

Using this knowledge, Jamiix set out to become the single interface that organisations of this nature use to manage the different conversations they have during the course of their working day.

Early adopters for this technology have included non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and socially-focussed groups, such as SANCA Western Cape and the National AIDS Helpline.

Partnerships with MXit, South Africa’s largest mobile instant messenger, and ISLabs who are helping the startup to scale internationally and provide technical support, have further boosted their profile and the size of their ambitions.

Jamiix grew organically out of specific community-organising needs on the Cape Flats.

CEO Marlon Parker describes how it was developed by “addressing local needs and social ills through the use of innovation that was developed by the people for the people.”

The platform developed to the point where it attracted interest from MoVigo Technologies (Pty) Ltd, which lead to substantial seed funding from SAFIPA, the South African Finland Partnership. These developments have in turn led to a business presence being established in both the UK and Malaysia, as Jamiix seeks to become an internationally-recognised brand.

New users will be able to register and use the service following the launch on 8 June.