Jun 18 2009

Stellenbosch company helps Iran protesters

Published by at 9:05 pm under Companies,Top Stories

I received this message from the public relations officer of fring just now: fring is helping Iran protesters get their messages to each other – and around the world.

You’ll remember fring as the global mobile community and communication service** in which Stellenbosch-based venture capital company Venfin invested an unknown amount recently. Read all about that here. Apart from Venfin, fring has three other investors – one from the US and two from Israel.

Here what the PR spokesperson wrote:

I’m writing to let you know that there are some interesting news coming out of Sky News related to fring. Following the outbreak of protests in Iran and the communication restrictions imposed upon citizens there, fring’s been seeing a steep rise in traffic coming from Iran in the last couple of days, with thousands of local Iranians using fring to talk (using mobile VoIP), chat, send pictures to friends and family (inside Iran and abroad).

With media censorship, phones, mobile phones, SMS, internet sites (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube), satellite broadcasts all being restricted, fring is enabling thousands of Iranians and millions around the world to communicate and share images and stories over the internet from their mobile phones, thereby by-passing traditional telecommunication channels – definitely social media at its best.

Sky News featured the phenomena on their evening news last night (see full report on the Sky News website), interviewing fring’s CEO, Avi Shehter. The TV station Al Jazeera English did the same thing the night before.

fring’s official post about the phenomenon is available here.

** This is how fring describes itself on its own website:

fring™ is a mobile internet service & community that enables users to talk, chat & interact with other fringsters™ and their online communities, from their mobile phones.

Originating from a vision of freedom, fring was born out of a desire to fundamentally change the way people communicate. The fring founders, veterans of the mobile, internet and high tech industries, joined together to create an easy to use, consumer-centric, truly converged peer-to-peer service, enabling its users to take control of their online communications from one single place on their mobile phone, utilizing the handset’s inherent internet capabilities to do so.

fring sits at the heart of the fringsters™ online communication world allowing the freedom to communicate with all popular communities’ members (Skype®, MSN® Messenger, Google Talk™, ICQ, SIP, Twitter, Yahoo!™, AIM®) without boundaries, and regardless of device, network operator, platform or the community(ies) to which they belong.

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