Grants, crowdfunding spur Twinpine’s continental expansion

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From winning a grant from the Nigerian government in 2011, to crowdfunding, to organic growth, Twinpine has always found a way to fund its endeavours. Now, with offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa, the company is plotting further regional offices in the next year.

Part of the Terragon Group of companies, Twinpine is a mobile advertising business focused on Africa that claims to have the largest inventory of African publishers across the continent.

The company looks to monetise traditional inventory sources and mobile operator inventories at scale with a focus on delivering significant value.

Anurika Azubuike, head of Group Marketing and Corporate Communications at Twinpine, told Disrupt Africa the company is the “only indigenous African company with the capacity  to monetise inventory from large private premium publishers and also help mobile operators deliver on the value of mobile advertising on the continent”.

“Identifying the role of mobile in internet penetration and communication in Africa, a lot of stakeholders have classified Africa “as a mobile first continent”, and rightly so,” she said.

Funding for this innovative opportunity has come from a variety of sources. In 2011, Twinpine won a grant from the Nigerian government. Since then, it has crowd-sourced and self-funded itself while growing organically.

It is also showing no signs of slowing down in its quest for innovation. Disrupt Africa reported earlier this month Twinpine had unveiled its ‘Adrenaline’ data monetisation and mobile advertising platform at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona, Spain, claiming it was a first for mobile in developing markets.

Azubuike said Adrenaline allows advertisers to buy inventory and access to reach mobile users on organically-generated channels which sit on non-internet based platforms on mobile devices – such as USSD-based balance enquiry, Call-Me-Back messages and End of Call Notification.

She said Adrenaline was created due to the lack the quality of internet connections in parts of Africa, which affected advert delivery significantly.

“This, however, led us to some of the innovations we’ve created, leading us to compress our ads so much so that we can ensure a great user experience with the least data possible. Our Adrenaline solution even takes this one step further, by delivering ads without the need for internet connections. With this, we use other non-internet channels predominant to Africa.”

The company has seen huge success in revenues, with its different advert formats and pool of large inventory the core of its business.

“Our platform handles about one billion ad requests every month. Twinpine is a marketplace whereby we connect suppliers and buyers, delivering inventory to advertisers via our programmatic RTB platform. Our existing relationships with mobile operators allow us to carry out data monetisation via operator billing for content partners,” Azubuike said.

Given Twinpine’s business is essentially Business-to-Business focused, it marketing efforts are quite strategic.

“Some of the ways in which we showcase our business and its capabilities are through partnerships with local and international firms, especially those who understand what we do and see the ways they can benefit from our many innovative solutions,” Azubuike said.

“We also make use of relevant public platforms specific to certain audiences to play up our innovation. Another channel for marketing and new business is the interplay between the three businesses that form the Terragon Group. That fosters a unique cross collaboration for each business by cross- selling into their core competencies in the process increasing the bottom line of the respective businesses and the Group as a whole.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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