South African startup MiName is looking to protect users from marketing exploitation by rewarding them with cash for being connected to brands they are interested in hearing from.
The founders of MiName, which allows users to decide what marketing they receive and rewards them if they make a purchase, believe the key to their product is its distinctiveness.
“From what we can tell we are unique in the market, in fact we seem to be internationally so,” Gaurav Nair, one of the three co-founders, told HumanIPO.
The service was soft launched in December 1, 2012 and became officially active this month on February 1.
Currently 100 subscribers strong, the team hopes to achieve 50,000 users before December 2013 and reach the 200,000 mark by the end of 2014.
Marketing, which up until now has consisted of press releases, will expand to Facebook and Google advertisements, telephone poles and radio, which the company believes carry “a certain credibility – people know that you are not just someone who are running a company for garage”.
“There is going to be a feature on our website where people who use our website can market for us by posting about their actions on Facebook and we reward them with for that,” Nair explained.
With larger companies like Zando, PlanetFitness, Chubb Security and TravelStart as partners, MiName is looking at focusing on bigger trading entities first, although they are open to diverse partners.
“At this stage any company that can sell their product through a call centre or agent and we are going to start moving into types of services like plumbing but at the moment we focus on the larger types of businesses,” said co-founder Derrick Hyde.
Funded by Redwood Capital, the startup sees multiple possibilities of expansion across Africa in various ways.
“We are still looking for more and more partners really what we want do is we want as many partners in the industry as possible in order to provide users with the best services possible,” Lawrence Joffe, the third co-founder, said.
“The only thing that we aren’t willing to compromise on is our values, that transparency, privacy and control for our users where the information goes and finally fairness,” Nair said.
A smartphone app is also available and plans for the release of a BlackBerry 7 app, as well as access through social chat app Mxit is underway.