Blue Label invests in sports tech start-up Mobii Systems

The deal will give Mobii’s developers funding for new and ongoing product development, with sports technology a global, ‘underserved’ industry

SOUTH AFRICA, 30, JULY, 2019 –
Blue Label Telecoms, whose shares have been battered by concerns that associate company Cell C is over-indebted, has bought 26% of Cape Town-based sports technology start-up Mobii Systems.

The deal, via Blue Label’s venture capital and private equity arm, will give Mobii’s developers the funding needed for new and ongoing product development, the companies said.

Blue Label’s shares have lost about a third of their value so far in 2019 on worries that Cell C, the mobile operator in which it has a 45% stake, is struggling to pay down debt.

Mobii specialises in timing software for running events. Its developers built the backbone for rugby match analysis on the Stratus platform, used by the Springboks, which gives teams, managers, coaches, medical personnel and referees the data, tools and insights to help them plan their strategy and perform at their best.

Richard Hartley, CEO of Mobii, likens Stratus’s capability to the 2011 film Moneyball starring Brad Pitt in which a baseball team uses mathematics and data analytics to win games even without the best players in the league. 

The technology is also being used by local rugby teams the Lions, Southern Kings, Leopards and Griquas, among others.

As a private company, Mobii says it cannot disclose profit figures. However, Hartley told Business Day its business is revenue-positive at present, adding that some months are better than others. He said Mobii’s immediate goal is building the business rather than profitability. “Our goal by the end of year is that we are profit-optional.”

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Roderick Barret of mobii / Leigh Buckle of myrun / Tallies Taljaard of Blue Label Ventures / Richard Hartley of mobii

Tallies Taljaard, co-founder of Blue Label Ventures, said, “Mobii’s team of engineers have, with very little funding, built two exciting and truly innovative applications that have massive potential to go global.”

He said Mobii is on track to grow its revenues by 300% in the current financial year, driven by international clients for their analytics platform and a new solar-powered timing chip for running events. 

“Most of our growth will come from international markets,” he said. “High performance sporting technology is a global, multibillion-dollar industry that is still fragmented and underserved.” 

He said they had identified a $60bn opportunity across personal fitness, analytics and timing, saying Mobii can be a R100m business in the next three years. 

Taljaard underscored the fact that Mobii is not in debt and that the funds invested by Blue Label would go towards growing the business. “We don’t invest in debt. We invest in growth.” 

Read the full BUSINESS DAY report here:

Written By Mudiwa Gavaza of Business Day (
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