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biNu Appoints Google Alumni, Stephen Newton, as CEO

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Danielle Kruger
Danielle Kruger
Daniëlle is an IT and tech journalist focused on gaming, gadgets and emerging technologies in a number of key industries.
biNu Appoints Google Alumni, Stephen Newton, as CEO
Stephen Newton

#datafree pioneer biNu announced the appointment of Stephen Newton as CEO to spearhead its expansion across Africa and other emerging markets – following successes in Nigeria and South Africa.

biNu addresses a major problem that continues in countries where consumers pre-pay for their mobile access and are data sensitive: the high cost of data restricts most people’s usage of services such as websites, apps and mobile money. As well as frustrating consumers, expensive data is also affecting the ability of brands, companies, Governments and NGOs to reach citizens, customers, prospects and employees through their mobiles.

The Alliance for Affordable Internet’s 2018 report found that over two billion people live in a country where the cost of 1GB of mobile data exceeds the affordability threshold of 2% or less of average income.

To help solve this problem, biNu has developed a unique technology platform that enables organisations to maintain #datafree apps and websites that people can visit without using any of their mobile data.

This #datafree experience is based on a pioneering reverse billing model that enables the owner of a website to pay for the data used to access their site rather than the cost being borne by the mobile phone user.  This effectively zero rates the organisation’s digital touchpoints for the consumer.

biNu has reverse billing agreements in place with MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, Telkom and Airtel to date.

biNu has also developed the Moya Messenger app to showcase its reverse billing platform.  This #datafree app provides people with an alternative to WhatsApp enabling them to send messages without using any data.

Moya has grown virally without any marketing spend; it currently has 300,000 monthly active users (MAUs) in South Africa and, based on current growth rates, is on track to achieve 1 million MAU in April.

biNu co-founder and Executive Chairman, Gour Lentell said “We welcome Stephen on-board. His experience and expertise will help shape and drive biNu’s international expansion.”

Stephen Newton brings more than 20 years’ experience in helping digital businesses successfully grow and scale in fast-growing emerging markets on the African continent. Previous positions include Head of Google South Africa and CEO of eCommerce platforms Naspers and MIH Africa   He is also an Advisory Board Member of various on-line businesses focussed on the African continent.

Stephen said “biNu is an innovative and inspiring company offering a unique solution that is solving a huge and very real problem across Africa and other emerging markets: data is expensive relative to incomes. #datafree moves the cost of mobile data from consumers to the owners of the content. It has a multitude of applications, and I am delighted to be part of the company’s future.”

In South Africa and Nigeria, biNu’s #datafree Publisher Platform is already being used by brands, commercial enterprises, public bodies and NGOs who need to reach and engage with a variety of different target audiences including employees, customers and prospects. Its many benefits include the ability to expand reach, increase engagement and lower communication costs by moving contact online from call centres and shops/branches.  This helps an organisation to foster loyalty – and grow its competitive advantage.

#datafree biNu is also being used by commercial publishers looking to extend their audience reach and engagement to mobile consumers.

Edited by Daniëlle Kruger
Follow Daniëlle Kruger on Twitter
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