Apr 30 2009

Venfin pumps more money into fring

Published by at 4:06 pm under Companies,Top Stories

The Stellenbosch-based venture capital company Venfin topped up its investment in global mobile community and communication service fring in what was fring’s third round of funding.

The three other investors in fring (two venture capital firms from Israel and one from the US) also participated in this third round of funding, fring said in a statement today.

It wasn’t divulged how much Venfin and the others injected.

fring cooperates with an impressive list of mobile applications and communities – but not Nimbuzz, the direct competitor in which Naspers had pumped roughly $30 million to date. 

For more about Nimbuzz, read this article of mine. 

With this move, Venfin (which has Johann Rupert as chairman and GT Ferreira as an independent non-executive director) thus increased the “competitive heat” on Nimbuzz (and indirectly Naspers) a few notches.

It also increased the Rupert empire’s exposure to the internet (as I said, with an unknown amount). A few months ago Rupert’s Reinet Investments topped up its investment in Vinny Lingham’s Yola with an extra $20 million. As far as I can make out, Venfin’s single biggest investment in an internet-related project is Seacom. 

Read more about that welcome investment (to SA surfers who have been paying an arm and a leg for their frustratingly slow DSL connections) here

This is how fring described itself in its press statement: fring is a mobile internet community and communication service allowing friends to connect, share experiences and enhance their communities together from their mobile devices.  They do this using a combination of proprietary fring utilities and the internet’s most popular social and community applications including Skype®, Facebook®, MSN® Messenger, GoogleTalk™, Twitter, Yahoo! ™, AIM®, ICQ®, Orkut®, Last.fm.

fring is 100% free with no subscription costs; consumers simply pay for the data they use under their existing mobile operator agreement. fring is completely PC independent, it requires no additional hardware, has no geographical or location limitations and operates on any available mobile internet connection: 3G, Wi-Fi, GPRS, EDGE & WiMax.

fring has experienced phenomenal global adoption, with millions of users now enjoying the fring experience in more than 200 countries worldwide and half a million new fringsters joining the fring community each month.

fring operates on Nokia S60 devices, Samsung S60, iPhone & iPod Touch, Sony Ericsson UIQ Smartphones, Windows Mobile, J2ME, Linux Mobile & Intel’s Moblin devices, which currently represent more than 1,000 mobile handsets (the full list is available at www.fring.com ).

For the complete press statement on the third round of funding (also the names of the other three investors), read here.

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