New owner to relaunch M4Jam by year-end

24 May 2016

South Africa’s micro-jobbing platform M4Jam will be back in operation under new ownership, after a buyer was eventually found.

The identity of the new owner has not been divulged. Andre Hugo and Warren Venter, the co-founders of M4Jam, have left the company, and will not be returning to the relaunched business.

“We wish the new owners the best of luck with the business. We know they will continue to grow it, as part of their overall strategy,” Hugo said.

In the meantime, the new owner stays in contact with its “jobber community” on Facebook (here). Early in May it posted: Jobbers; watch this space – the jam has not gone sour! In fact, it’s about to become a whole lot sweeter, and we’re oozing with excitement about what’s to come.”

On May 20 it added: “We’ll only be going live with the new platform toward the end of the year.”

Whether the jobber community will hang around that long, is doubtful. We enquired why the new owner needs almost a year to continue with a going operation, and will report a newsworthy response. (Update: the PR agent said the new business is still in the planning phase. For now, the new owner can’t be more specific. A media statement will be released soon.)

M4Jam (in which Naspers held an interest) shocked the market in March, when it requested jobbers on WeChat (where it operated) to cash out their earnings, since it was restructuring. Hugo said the company would close down, if a buyer could not be found.

“M4Jam couldn’t achieve profitability in the investment time frame (set by Naspers). As a result, the board decided to cease trading, and sell the assets to interested parties over the course of the next month,” Hugo said at the time.

“If we are successful, the business will be restructured. If not, the business will be closed,” Hugo added.

The micro-jobbing platform allowed brands and NGOs to post small tasks for so-called “jobbers” to complete using their mobile phones.

The micro-jobbing platform sent out messages via WeChat, Twitter and Facebook, telling all its users to cash out their wallets before March 31. In a post on LinkedIn, Hugo said in the 18 months of M4Jam’s existence, it had created micro jobs for more than 130,000 people in South Africa.

M4Jam started operating in 2014, and in February 2015 things were looking up when it announced that it had received funding from Naspers and Tencent-owned WeChat Africa. Later Brett Loubser, head of WeChat Africa and Poshu Yeung, general manager of Tencent, joined the board of M4Jam.

Later in 2015 it acquired the online research tool Pondering Panda.

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Mamello Masote