Why Investing in Start-ups Accelerates the Innovation of Mobile Operators in Emerging Markets
Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) investments have more than tripled in the last five years as more and more mobile operators invest in start-ups to aid their acceleration. That was just one of the findings of a new report launched today at the GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Middle East conference in Dubai, which outlines the motivations to pursue start-up investments in developing countries.
The report entitled ‘corporate venture capital: an opportunity for mobile operators and start-ups in emerging markets’ highlights how the phenomenal rise in CVC investments now accounts for over 30 per cent of all venture investments, which has risen by 10 per cent from 2012.
Co-written by leading advisory and investment company, Delta Partners and the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator, the report also charts the huge impact that the digital revolution is having on the telecoms sector. With the blurring of the boundaries between traditional telecoms and media, mobile operators are now realising that collaborations with technology start-ups are essential if they want to grow and remain competitive in a world where digital disruption dominates.
Whilst these ongoing efforts have often been concentrated in developed markets, the findings show that mobile operators in emerging markets are now set to catch up:
“The new digital era has raised the bar and it’s vital that mobile operators in emerging markets take heed of the opportunities represented by start-ups to avoid being left behind,” commented Nuno Goncalves Pedro, Partner at Delta Partners who co-authored the report.
“We believe that mobile operators in emerging markets can and should be more active in their support of the start-up ecosystem, in particular those start-ups that are local to them. To play more actively in the investment arena, not only creates commercial benefits for those involved, but also, from a socio-economic perspective, it can have a number of positive outcomes such as increasing employment, boosting the quality of the local labour force and ultimately fuelling local ecosystems.”
The study outlines how these benefits are already being reaped by certain companies who have made successful collaborations in this space. For example, digital players such as Jumia (founded by Rocket Internet) based in Africa, have been highly successful in soliciting investments from the mobile operators such as Millicom, MTN and more recently Orange.
Ultimately, this injection of cash funding has also helped drive Jumia’s business forward with collaborations around joint marketing, cross-promotion and selling.