Tech Crunch, 6 julio, 2015
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Kid Video And Entertainment Service Playkids Nabs $15M From Parent Firm Movile

You might think that YouTube has the kid video demographic locked down, particularly since it launched a dedicated video app for kids, but a company out of Brazil is aiming to challenge that asumption. And it’s putting another $15 million where it’s mouth is, too.

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You might think that YouTube has the kid video demographic locked down, particularly since it launched a dedicated video app for kids, but a company out of Brazil is aiming to challenge that asumption. And it’s putting another $15 million where it’s mouth is, too.

That company is Movile, a mobile app development firm responsible for a range of different services including Playkids, its video-meets-education app for young kids. Playkids, which was first launched two years ago, is getting the cash boost to develop new business ideas and features over the next nine to 12 months. (The money itself comes courtesy of Movile’s recent $40 million raise from Naspers.)

The $15 million matches the total of previous investments made by Sao Paulo-headquartered Movile, which acts as incubator to a range of different projects. The organization put $5 million into Playkids in March 2014, before adding a further $10 million later that August.

Movile — which operates a range of Latam-based services include iFood (food delivery), Superplayer (music streaming), and Rapiddo (a Fandago rival) — is putting serious focus on Playkids after the service made a breakthrough in numerous international markets over the past year. Playkids is global, but its premium content is available on iOS and Android in 27 countries worldwide. Movile said the service has clocked over one billion episodes played (in six languages) and it has been particularly successful in China and the U.S., where it has been the top ranked kids app (per App Annie data). It is also the overall top grossing children’s app in the world.

Initially billed as a video/TV app for kids, it has evolved beyond that to cover a range of different entertainment formats, including books, puzzles, games and audio. That varied array of content is how the service makes its money, basic features are available for free, with other — premium content — requiring users to pay for subscription-based access.

It isn’t just content for kids where Movile has develop Playkids, it has also branched out to offer new features designed for parents. That includes more obvious things like watch time limits and selecting specific videos, and interesting features such as messaging and a parental dashboard. The dashboard, as you’d think, gives parents an overview of their kids’ activities, while the messaging feature — called Rocket — lets them send short messages such as ‘brush your teeth’ or ‘tidy your room’ reminders via the service. Kids can respond with videos.

Rocket Messaging is initially available for the Apple Watch app only, but Eduardo Henrique — head of global expansion at PlayKids — told TechCrunch in an interview that the company will expand the feature into accompanying apps for regular iOS devices.

“We want to be a hub of educational entertainment,” Henrique said. “The idea of a passive experience where kids just watch videos is not exploring the technology can we can offer today. Kids can interact with the screen, play educational content, read music, and more.”

“This is first version of many things that we can create to bring parents to the platform. Our intention is to invest more in information for parents and tools for parents and kids,” the Brazilian added.

I test it with my two kids — aged four and six — and, to my surprise, Playkids was as popular as the (few) games which I let them play. The content is designed up kids up to the age of about four or five, and that showed as my youngest was most engaged while the elder found it all a little too easy.

Playkids expanded into China and most recently Japan in recent months. Henrique explained that these launches were its last for this year, and that now the team is focused on developing the technology and services to push the service on in its existing markets.

“Our challenge is to become largest platform for kids in the world,” he said. That goal could see Playkids become an independent business in its own right.

“We treat Playkids like a small company inside Movile — it has its own team but is also supported by Movile,” he added. “But we are thinking about spinning it out — maybe it will happen one day.”


Tech Crunch, 17 abril, 2015
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Naspers Drops Off $40 Million For Brazilian Mobile Conglomerate Movile

The on-demand delivery market has now raised more money in the first four months of 2015 than it did in all of 2014, and the latest beneficiary is the Brazilian mobile application and content developer Movile.

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The company has received a $40 million commitment from the South African technology investor and media company, Naspers (whose other investments include global technology giants like China’s Tencent, India’s Flipkart, Russia’s, and Latin America’s OLX).

Movile’s latest $40 million financing, which brings the company’s total commitments to nearly $100 million, is just about keeping pace with its competitors globally. A ridiculous amount of money has been invested into delivery companies of all stripes this year, with totals reaching $1.28 billion so far this year, according to data from CrunchBase.

Technology companies like Rocket Internet (Germany’s “startup factory”) have made some of the biggest bets, but venture capital firms have also been taking big swings on the delivery space. Investments in companies like Instacart, which raised $210 million at the end of last year, and Postmates, which just raised $35 million in financing, show that investors think this is an industry that can deliver returns.

“We believe this is a billion dollar opportunity,” says Fabricio Bloisi, Movile’s chief executive. “Everyone will start to use the mobile phone to supply what they want within 30 minutes to an hour.”

In addition to all of the venture money pouring in, Bloisi points to the delivery services launched by the largest technology companies like Alibaba, Amazon, and Google.

Over the past several years, Movile, which still operates a successful content distribution business (mainly educational and entertainment apps and content for children), has made ten acquisitions to bolt on delivery services. Bloisi and his investors see the trend of online-to-offline commerce as the future of the business.

“Movile is focused on local commerce and content,” he says. “We raised this round from Naspers and we expect to double our investments in [online-to-offline services].”

Currently Movile offers food and ticket delivery services, through its iFood and Cinepapaya subsidiaries, as well as delivery logistics and online reviews through a suite of acquisitions made over the last two years. And in some ways, its expansion mirrors that of its German rival, Rocket Internet.

“We want to expand from cinema to other verticals and we want to go to Latin America,” says Bloisi. “The big thing for us is we see the synergy of local commerce. once we sell the user food we can also sell tickets or they can also buy grocery delivery. We have 65% of sales on food through mobile.

And, while the focus now is on consolidating in Brazil and moving into the rest of Latin America, Movile definitely sees their strategy in global terms.

“Probably you saw we have a food war running in the world,” says Bloisi. “There are other players including German players who are trying to beat us in the world.”

While these big competitors indubitably create obstacles in certain markets, it’s a big world, and Movile’s investors think there are still pockets of opportunity.

It is a global opportunity and we look very carefully at where we go. When we look at these opportunities we look to see what is worth buying and what is worth growing internally,” says Veronica Serra, a partner with Innova Capital. “In general you look at size and scale and what’s least penetrated in the market. It’s a touchy subject where we’re looking because we don’t want to call attention to where we looked at because of competition.


Gigaom, 11 diciembre, 2014
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PlayKids is taking its children’s video service to China

PlayKids, the video subscription service that focuses on kids under five, launched the iOS version of its app in China Thursday. PlayKids wants to win over Chinese consumers with local kids titles like Mumu Tribe, Our Friend Xiong Xiaomi and Dinobob.

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PlayKids head of international expansion Eduardo Henrique told me during a recent interview that the company decided to focus on iOS in part because the Chinese Android market is more fragmented, but also because that’s where the company has seen more traction across its other 26 markets. “Most of our revenues are from the iOS platform,” he said.

PlayKids has seen more than eight million downloads of its app, and PlayKids users have played more than 500 million videos through the app. The service is owned and operated by Latin America’s mobile app specialist Movile. Henrique told me the company focused entirely on international expansion in 2014, but it may add a version for kids over five in 2015.


TechCrunch, 20 octubre, 2014
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Movile, Brazil’s Answer To Rocket Internet, Backs Mobile Ticketing Co. CinePapaya With $2M

Brazilian internet conglomerate Movile is pushing deeper into consumer investments in Latin America through a $2 million investment in mobile movie ticketing company, CinePapaya.

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The company says it will use the funds to enter new markets, hire new staff, and increase product innovation as part of the Movile network of companies.

The Peruvian-based company has expanded to Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Miami, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Ecuador and works with theaters like Cinemark.

The company’s services include searching and buying tickets, with additional features that allow users to find films based on their personal availability.

CinePapaya is working with Chilevision and ATV, and its app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phones.

According to a recent survey, global box office revenues from 2013 increased by four percent from the previous year, creating an industry worth $35.9 billion. The Latin American box office saw sales increase seven percent, centered around Mexico which rose sixteen percent, and Argentina, which rose eight percent. The numbers, provided by Movile, show a market that’s ripe for new players.

“We’re building a comprehensive suite of apps that will encompass key consumer verticals.” said Fabricio Bloisi, Movile’s founder and chief executive. “It’s exciting to be building the next generation of apps that will define how millions of Latin Americans get the goods and services they want through their phone.”

Since raising $55 million in August, Movile invested $15 million in Apontador, the Brazilian business review and search app and $2.2 million dollars in the courier service, Rapiddo.

Overall, Movile’s smartphone and tablet applications for content and commerce along with its push into online-to-offline commerce have meant an expanding headcount. The company now employs 400 staffers and connects to 40 carriers with 700 million subscribers. The company’s been backed by the South African tech company, Naspers, since 2008.


Venture Beat, 25 septiembre, 2014
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Brazil’s Movile invests $15M in Apontador, a Yelp-like service in Latin America

Movile, a Brazilian e-commerce platform with various content and commerce apps under its belt, is taking a new step into the local content realm with its latest investment.

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Today, Movile announced that it has invested $15 million inApontador, a mobile-first service for reviews of local businesses. Movile itself recently raised $55 million in new funding.

Much like Yelp, Apontador is a place where people can contribute reviews of local businesses and services, read reviews written by others, and get a variety of other information about their local small businesses. They can also book reservations, see where their friends are, and receive exclusive access to promotions and deals. Apontador has more than two million users and more than 10 million businesses in its network.

U.S-based Yelp launched its service in Brazil a year ago and is now in two other Latin American countries, Mexico and Argentina. In addition to Brazil, Apontador is also available in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Uruguay.

This investment is giving Movile additional grip on the local small businesses market, as it invested in February in iFood, a popular food delivery service in Latin America recently acquired by Just Eat.

Apontador was founded in 2000 and is based in Sao Paolo, Brazil.


The New York Times, 19 septiembre, 2014
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British Food Delivery Giant Forms Joint Venture in Brazil

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Just Eat, the British online food-ordering giant that has been expanding globally, has decided to join the competition in Brazil rather than continue fighting it.
The company has agreed to merge its Brazil operations with iFood, owned by the mobile company Movile in São Paulo, both companies said in a statement on Friday.

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The joint venture will be called IF-JE Participações and will operate under the iFood brand. Just Eat said that it would transfer 100 percent of the shares of Just Eat Brazil Servicos Online, which trades as RestauranteWeb, to iFood.

After the transaction, Movile will own 50.02 percent of the joint venture. Just Eat will have a 25 percent stake and iFood’s original founders will take the remaining 24.98 percent.

Just Eat will also provide $5.7 million to help finance the joint venture.

Acknowledging the competitive environment in Brazil, Just Eat’s chief executive, David Buttress, said in the statement, “The iFood founders and Movile have built a great business.”

“By combining it with RestauranteWeb, we are creating the leader in this exciting market,” he added.

The new company is expected to generate more than a million orders a month next year and $400 million for partner restaurants in 60 cities.

Just Eat acquired RestauranteWeb in 2011, hoping to gain a foothold in Latin America’s largest economy. But winning the market proved to be a challenge. The executive it brought in to serve as country manager, Emerson Calegaretti, left by the end of the 2012 and subsequently joined a rival, HelloFood, owned by Rocket Internet. In a sign of the intensity of the competition, HelloFood said on Friday that it had acquired another rival, Entrega Delivery.

In 2013, RestauranteWeb posted a pretax loss of 2.6 million pounds, the statement said. The value of its gross assets as of June 30 was £1.3 million.

Outside of Brazil, though, Just Eat has been growing rapidly. In April, it raised £360.1 million in a much-trumpeted initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

For the first half of this year, it reported a net profit of £6 million, compared with £2 million in the period a year earlier, largely on the strength of its business in Britain. Revenue grew 69 percent, to £51.9 million, with the British business making up 74 percent of that total.

Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in Britain was £20.3 million, but Ebitda for what it lumps together as other regions excluding Denmark was a loss of £4.9 million.

There have been other past indications of the challenge in Brazil. In Just Eat’s initial public offering prospectus this year, it noted that growth in Ebitda in Britain and Denmark was offset by losses elsewhere, “predominantly in Brazil, Canada, and Spain.”

For Movile, whose majority shareholder is the South African conglomerate Naspers, the move is part of its larger effort to become a leading mobile commerce platform in Latin America. “We know that food delivery is just the beginning,” Movile’s founder and chief executive, Fabricio Bloisi, said in an interview.

Earlier this year, Movile raised $35 million in a round led by the Brazilian fund Innova Capital, which counts the billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann as an investor, according to two people close to the firm.

Mr. Bloisi added, “We will keep investing in local commerce, online to offline services and same-day delivery to enable this mobile future.”


TechCrunch, 7 agosto, 2014
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Brazil’s Movile Raises $55 Million To Bring Universal Delivery Services To Latin America

The experiment with e-commerce and delivery services that’s taking hold in the U.S. actually may see more traction in emerging markets, where big retailers had struggled because of infrastructure and logistics issues. Latin American and Asian e-commerce players are angling to become the dominant players in retail with same-day delivery for goods and services that were traditionally sold in stores.

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The experiment with e-commerce and delivery services that’s taking hold in the U.S. actually may see more traction in emerging markets, where big retailers had struggled because of infrastructure and logistics issues. Latin American and Asian e-commerce players are angling to become the dominant players in retail with same-day delivery for goods and services that were traditionally sold in stores.

In Brazil, no company is doing more than the mobile software and services developerMovile, which raised $55 million to finance its grand plan to join e-commerce with delivery services to make the shopping experience better and easier for everyone.

Already backed by the South African media and investment giant Naspers (which is also an investor in Tencent), Movile added a new backer in Innova Capital with its $35 million Series D round of funding. The Sao Paulo-based company also picked up a $20 million commitment from FINEP — Brazil’s Funding Authority for Studies and Projects within the Ministry of Technology.

The company, whose businesses include the mobile entertainment and educational application developer, PlayKids; the hotspot locator and internet service provider, FreeZone; iFood, a food delivery service; and the video network, ZeeWee, will use some of the cash to expand its PlayKids operations internationally, along with rolling out more delivery services, according to chief executive officer Fabricio Bloisi.

“This round is to pursue our online and offline strategy,” says Bloisi. The company has started the process with its iFood delivery service, but Bloisi says his vision extends far beyond just the food business.

Perhaps best-known for its PlayKids app (which will receive $10 million from the latest cash infusion) Movile has 30 million monthly active users, who perform 50 billion transactions a year on the company’s service.

The company began with content and payment applications for mobile phones and feature phones 15 years ago and has now expanded to the delivery service business. “If you can sell through one click on the mobile phone and you can have it delivered in the next five hours, that’s a powerful service,” says Bloisi. For him, the benchmarks for his new service are Yelp and Google’s Shopping Express service. “We want to build the Brazilian Yelp,” Bloisi says.

But the vision is actually broader. “We are going to buy startups that do local delivery and push users to get their phones to buy anything close to them, from movie tickets, to drug store items to food, and have it delivered in the next few hours,” says Bloisi.

That vision is already paying off with iFood. The company is on track to deliver 3.5 million meals in 2014, with 60% of its orders coming from the company’s smartphone application.

Growth rates in Brazil are encouraging the company’s strategy, with roughly 106% compounded annual growth in mobile smartphone usage, according to data from the company. As part of its growth strategy, the company is also looking to woo top talent away from large U.S. tech companies. In the past few months it managed to poach former Apple Senior Designer Everaldo Coelho, and will look to add more U.S. and Latin American talent to its team, the company said.

If the U.S. is one source of inspiration for Movile’s chief executive, then China is another. “Our big benchmarks are the Chinese companies,” says Bloisi. “They are consolidating all kinds of services and distribution. We want to take this strong action in Latin America. From entertainment, to grocery items and food, and other services. You can get things delivered to you in one or two hours.”


Techcrunch, 6 febrero, 2014
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Hungry For New Deals, Latin American Wireless Co. Movile Doubles Down On Delivery

Brazil’s mobile content developer Movile is on the hunt for new investments after committing a fresh $2 million to its online delivery service company iFood. That recent investment is a sign of just how spicy food delivery companies have become in recent weeks.

Movile announced that it is doubling down on its bet in iFood – Brazil’s answer to GrubHub – with a new $2 million commitment just one day after FoodPanda raised an additional $20 million to get its paws around more of the global online food delivery market. And Vinod Khosla’s investment firm Khosla Ventures is backing a new mobile food delivery service in the U.S., while gourmet food delivery company Munchery raised $20 million.

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Movile’s investment is part of a broader strategy to work closely with and invest in startup companies across the Americas. To that end, Brazil’s mobile macher is negotiating with five other undisclosed startups in seed investments ranging from $100,000 to $3 million, according to Eduardo Henrique, the head of Movile’s U.S. operations.

At iFood the cash will be used to help pay for its acquisition of another Brazilian-based online food delivery service, Central do Delivery. The deal consolidates online and mobile delivery technology within one large player ahead of the World Cup and the Olympics.

In all, iFood has raised $6.1 million in total funding from Movile and WH Investimentos.

Since its investment in iFood, Movile said the company’s orders have tripled from 40,000 to 130,000 and traffic has shifted from the web to mobile devices. Roughly 60 percent of the company’s orders are made from mobile devices, up from 4 percent when Movile first committed capital to iFood.

This is only the first step in Movile’s investment strategy, according to Henrique. While the company does not intend to become an investor, expanding the number of applications available on mobile devices is good for Movile’s business.

Opportunities for investment in new mobile applications abound in the Latin American market, according to Henrique. Mobile adoption in the region over the next five years will outpace any other geography worldwide, with a compound annual growth rate of 23.7 percent over a five-year period, according to data from IDC Worldwide. Asia is next on the list with a five-year growth rate of 23.2 percent.

“In my opinion no matter what crisis will come, Internet and mobile will grow like crazy in Brazil and Latin America,” Henrique said. “That’s why we’re positioning our apps and services business units in front. It’s a 600 million cellphone market [in Latin America] and people want to consume. They want to spend money on services; they want to spend money on games; they want to spend money buying food and on e-commerce in general.”

Movile is backed by investors who know the global mobile and technology marketplace well. The company’s major backer is Naspers, a South African media conglomerate that also holds a stake in the Chinese Internet behemoth, Tencent. As it looks to increase its mobile portfolio, the company is angling to back companies developing transportation, e-commerce around fashion, and healthcare  and lifestyle applications, Henrique said.

Although the company is expanding its footprint and investment activity with the hopes of closing 10 deals in 2014, Movile’s U.S. head stressed that his company is not primarily an investor or financing company. “We are not a VC, we just make the deal  when we’re sure we bring value to the company.”



Mobile World Live, 23 diciembre, 2013
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Movile debuts LatAm app marketplace

Movile, which describes itself as “Latin America’s biggest mobile content platform”, announced an app marketplace intended to bring together device makers, operators and app developers.

The company said that the portal will enable manufacturers and operators to choose apps to preload, which have been submitted by developers to a central site.

The effort “builds on the success of a similar initiative that preloaded over ten million apps onto phones built by Apple, Samsung, LG, Sony and Huawei among others”, Movile said.

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According to the company, “developers realise that Brazil and Latin America are expanding opportunities, but they need billing relationships with carriers, distribution networks, and marketing budgets to succeed in the new markets”.

The Movile Marketplace is said to leverage Movile’s existing relationships with operators and device vendors to solve these problems, and “connects excellent developers of any size, directly with OEMs and carriers they couldn’t have approached otherwise for a preloading agreement”.

The content company will curate apps to ensure they meet quality selection criteria. It has partnered with appAttach to build and operate the portal.


Quartz, 19 noviembre, 2013
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This Brazilian mobile firm’s user base grew 1,567% in five years

he Brazilian mobile company, Movile, reaches millions of Latin Americans with each tap and swipe of their devices—whether they realize it or not.

Now the company founded in the late 1990s, back when mobiles were used for text messaging and grainy games of Snake, has ambitions that go far beyond the region.

“We will be a global company,” says Movile’s head of US operations, Eduardo Henrique. “The goal is to become the largest mobile services and product company in the world.”

With nine offices throughout the Americas and more than 250 employees, Movile’s business includes partnerships with more than 40 mobile carriers in Latin America, licensing and selling entertainment content and products, including one of the top-grossing children’s apps in the world, PlayKids TV. Since its inception, the homegrown company has continued to merge, acquire, and grow, fending off foreign competition as European investors began staking claims in Brazil’s mobile landscape.

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Besides entertainment content, it offers a system for mobile payments for virtual goods and an HTML5 app store. In 2008, Movile merged with Yavox, and in 2010 it acquired Cyclelogic and became one of the largest mobile content aggregators in the region. (Movile, it should be noted, is not to be confused with Carlos Slim Helú’s telecommunications company América Móvil.)

Growth has been rapid. In 2008, Movile had 1.5 million monthly active users across its platforms. Today, 25 million monthly active users come into contact with its products, according to the company. Though Movile does not disclose sales figures, the company reports revenue has increased 40 times over in the same time period and since South African media conglomerate Naspers’s 2008 investment in Movile.

“What we are doing today is different than what we started at in beginning,” said Henrique. “What is the same is the vision that we would build a global company.”

Even within Latin America, Movile stands to substantially expand its user base. “The mobile content opportunity in Latin America is significant,” writes Enrique Velasco-Castillo, a mobile and telecoms analyst at the global market research company IHS, in an email. Velasco-Castillo cited IHS research predicting that there will be 240 million mobile smartphone subscriptions in Latin America by 2017.

The frontier to focus on is apps, said Movile’s Henrique. Movile has built apps in just about every area of interest, from health to entertainment and utilities. Two of its most popular are PlayKids TV and FreeZone, a wifi hotspot finder. “Four years ago, we started investing in the app market when it was new, and now it’s the reality of the company,” Henrique said.

Most of Movile’s apps are developed in-house, then refined through trial and error, Henrique says. PlayKids TV, for example, came about when the company launched a general video-streaming app that failed to attract and engage a significant number of users. But there was a silver lining—research showed that the children’s content was popular. So the company focused on children when developing its next app. PlayKids, notably, is a part of a concerted effort to tap into the preschool set not served by Netflix. “I don’t want to compete against Netflix on the sofa,” Henrique told Gigaom last month. “I want to compete in the car, on the plane, in the restaurant.”

Movile also has an eye out for promising startups, to expand its portfolio. In February of this year, for example, Movile invested in iFood, a Brazilian food delivery startup reminiscent of Seamless. Since the alliance with Movile, mobile orders have jumped from 7% to 50% and, in the first six months, total orders tripled, according to the company.

Movile hopes to use its reach, connections and knowledge to cultivate and nurture the Latin American startup scene, Henrique says. Its app store, Zeewe, for example, provides a marketplace for developers to sell their HTML5-based apps.

He describes Movile as “the best company to develop partnerships in mobile in Latin America. We can help startups from other regions come to Latin America, and we also can help Latin American startups to go global and grow globally.”

Few other companies cover the range of products and services that Movile offers, though Henrique mentioned the Beijing-based mobile company GO Launcher, which is Android-based, as one. But as Movile continues to expand, geographically and into different sectors of mobile technology, it could find itself up against some formidable global challengers, including Apple and Google.

“Device manufacturers, wireless operators, and mobile platform providers will each compete to offer a total mobile user experience,” says Abel Nevarez, a mobile and telecom research analyst at IHS. ”The future of mobile content will see a blurring of lines among mobile ecosystem players.”




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