Digital is not just a hot business. It’s also a hotbed for innovation and entrepreneurship, given the rapid drive towards digital by many businesses.
It is this entrepreneurial ideas and energy that Mi9 – a 15-year-old joint venture between Microsoft and Nine Entertainment Co. – seeks to tap. To do so, it has reached out to startup incubator Pollenizer, besides announcing its first portfolio company – FlikGift, which enables gifting through social media sites.
“Australia has a vibrant digital entrepreneur community with innovative business ideas which we want to help be successful. We’re impressed with Pollenizer’s business model and excited to be contributing our set of digital assets, to drive large audiences and valuable customers to these new businesses,” said Mi9 CEO Mark Britt.
Pollenizer, established in 2008 by founder Phil Morle, helps young startups rapidly transform ideas into businesses. It has invested over $10 million in at least 25 startups and made one exit worth $40 million. Its portfolio of companies includes mogeneration, Posse, 99dresses and Spreets.
“Over the past five years, Pollenizer has developed a very lean and disciplined methodology to venture creation. The opportunity to introduce our innovative web offerings to a larger platform of consumers will significantly improve the rate of success,” said Mark Greig, Pollenizer’s Partnership.
The two companies said Mi9’s Product Innovation team would drive this partnership and has the “remit to grow the group’s ventures portfolio.” Part of this process would involve sifting through Pollenizer’s startups and accelerating those with new digital products. Mi9 also will have the option to invest in these new digital businesses.
FlikGift, an innovative social gifting platform, is the first to emerge from this partnership. It enables people to send free and paid gift cards from leading retailers to friends and family via the web and mobile devices, primarily through social media sites. The service is free and FlikGift expects to make money when people buy stuff from the participating retailers. It also will make it possible for a bunch of people to join hands and contribute to a common, and more valuable, gift card to another.
“We offer retailers a great opportunity to leverage Facebook and other social platforms to target customer segments and drive new customers into bricks and mortar and online stores,” said Shaun Johnson, FlikGift’s co-founder and director.
Mi9 hopes to tap its existing network of 80-plus premium content sites to rapidly accelerate FlikGift’s potential customer base.