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SA startup lands major mobile deal in Nigeria

SA startup lands major mobile deal in Nigeria.

Remember the name Lynette Hundermark because there is a very good chance the South African entrepreneur and mobile guru will be making substantial waves across Africa's mobile market, and soon.

The co-founder and MD of South African mobile solutions and strategy consultancy Useful and Beautiful, established with chief creative officer George Reed, has confirmed the company has recently landed a deal with a Lagos-based mobile solutions provider to assist in the rollout of a soccer-themed mobile app platform and mobi site.

It is a significant deal that firstly exposes the brand to a country with a population of almost 184 million, according to worldometers.info online, and then taps into a 140-million-plus mobile market.

Lynette is reluctant to give too much away about the deal, but emphasised its multi-dimensional quality and its content aimed at the Nigerian mobile user who is also a soccer enthusiast.

It is designed as an online 'one-stop-shop' for anyone who enjoys soccer, a place where users can download, interact, discuss and discover everything that happens both on-and off the pitch.

It is a very strategic early win for the young business, which only launched in 2014, and brings to the market Lynette's proven expertise in mobile product strategy, the development of mobile apps and mobile optimised sites.

The immediate benefits to Useful and Beautiful are official entry into Africa's burgeoning mobile market, a route to the largest market on the continent, the first official Africa-focused project which means certain brand exposure and alignment with a respected, established solutions provider, which also boosts credibility.

It also provides the much-needed first success story/ case study which will go a long way to help building the company's reputation in a market that continues to grow and attract competitors.

Beyond the world of finance

Lynette studied computer sciences and psychology and first entered the world of software development as an analyst programmer with Standard Bank and later Citibank.

Using both local and international exposure to markets and technology, Lynette has developed an extensive set of skills over time and throughout an illustrious career, including time as an apps business director and head of product strategy at digital agency Prezence Digital.

Prior to this Lynette took on a number of mobile roles within financial houses like Standard Bank and media conglomerates like Naspers.

Lynette also served as senior business analyst/ product manager and scrum master at MIH & Kalahari.com

She has worked internationally for brands that including HSBC, Citibank, and Tesco.

As a successful female professional in the technology industry, Lynette's advice, particularly to women competing in the world of technology, is to find a mentor. "The importance of mentorship cannot be overstated," she has been quoted as saying.

"If I could change anything about my career, I would have probably have stayed with Standard Bank a bit longer because my mentor was the CIO... you don't realise the power of mentorship when you are still young, I mean you struggle to get people of that stature as your mentor," says Lynette.

A truly mobile world

True to her career growth style and general approach to life (having fought hard over the years to secure the best positions to expand her horizons) Lynette is outspoken about the realities of mobile and the powerful role that technology resources play in the lives of ordinary people.

One of her more recent statements about mobile and its application is that both omnichannel and social media starts with the mobile consumer.

"With 23.6 million smartphones as reported by Mobile Consumer in SA 2015, World Wide Worx, customers want and expect to be able to contact organizations via social media channels on their phones via the Facebook and Twitter apps or mobi sites and have their questions answered, issues resolved and points of view heard in real time," says Lynette.

"Research has shown that at least 1/3 of consumers have contacted a brand for customer service via social media to date and the number is rising. Failure to engage will be regarded by customers as a service failure meaning that consumers are looking for a meaningful real time response from a brand on social media whether it be during the day, night, weekends and holidays 24/7/365," she adds.

Lynette is adamant about the relevance of an omnichannel in a number of areas of business, and says that social media has made this strategy viable for any venture.

"The key to winning the heart of the consumer is without a doubt listening and making smart decisions around the conversations (the real time social intelligence should give the team a heads up on what they need to know about anticipating issues, in the case of the bookstore example, removing the insecure page that was reported), and last but not least giving the customers a quick response without sacrificing quality for speed," she adds.

As far as the company's strategy in Africa is concerned, Lynette is keeping her cards close and says that while there is huge potential in the continent, she is taking a steady and calculated approach to business development.

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