What’s the news from the MEF community? Here’s your weekly round up of all the latest announcements from MEF members including product launches, partnerships, research insights and more…

Digital Virgo acquires Addict Mobile

France’s Digital Virgo has bought traffic acquisition specialist Addict Mobile to create one of Europe’s biggest mobile marketing companies.

The two firms invested more than $80m in advertising across mobile, web and apps media in 2016. Digital Virgo hit 207m euros in sales in 2016, while Addict currently manages over 11,000 campaigns in more than 50 countries. Its clients include Bla Bla Car, PokerStars Deezer, La Redoute, Le Figaro and more.

Eric Peyre, President of Digital Virgo: “The range of services we offer is growing but the objective is always the same: to acquire and retain online customers on behalf of our partners. Today our acquisition of Addict Mobile shows our determination to offer our customers the most competitive performance based mobile marketing offer of the market.”

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VAS2Nets wins West African Mobile Award

Nigeria’s VAS2Nets has scooped the prize for Mobile Innovation at the West African Mobile Awards (WAMAS) 2017.

The aggregator won the award for its work on the Mobile Biometric Verification Number (BVN) platform it developed for the Central Bank of Nigeria.

VAS2Nets is based in Nigeria, but also serves Ghana, Cameroon, Uganda, Bostwana and South Africa. It offers VAS services, DCB, mobile money, premium SMS and more.

Fellow MEF member Mahindra Comviva was also among the WAMAS winners.

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Mahindra Comviva makes MobiLytix IRIS available as SaaS

Telcos all over the world can now buy Mahindra Comviva’s MobiLytix IRIS mobile engagement product via a recurring subscription.

IRIS stands for ‘Incremental Revenues through Incremental Sales’ and lets operators work with retailers to create better offers for end customers.

Now, Mahindra has made it available as a ‘pay as you go’ product so telcos don’t need to worry about hardware requirements and maintenance.

Amit Sanyal, VP and head of Consumer Value Solutions at Mahindra Comviva, said, “Any non-SaaS deployment has limitations… making upgrades and scalability a time consuming and cumbersome process. Now, with our SaaS offering, we will ensure that the retailer and the customer’s recharge journeys are in sync.”

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Wirecard bolsters North American operation with two hires

Brad Fauss and Kevin Brown have joined Wirecard’s executive team in North America as general counsel and head of marketing respectively.

Wirecard entered North America earlier this year when it bought Citi’s prepaid card business. Now, it’s building a team to cement its foothold in the region.

Fauss (pictured) arrives from the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA), while Brown was previously at Credibly, a private equity backed Fintech.

“I am thrilled to add such accomplished executives as Brad and Kevin to an already outstanding team,” said Wirecard MD, Deirdre Ives.

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MTS takes mobile money platform to feature phones

Russian telco MTS has enhanced its mobile money wallet so that the 45 per cent of Russians with feature phones can use it.

MTS launched the app in February to let users make online payments and money transfers from the handset. It has since improved its features to include checking account balances, NFC payments and even the buying and selling if mutual funds through the app.

And feature phone users can take part too using a new USSD function.

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Kaspersky Lab appoints new APAC MD

Stephan Neumeier is the new MD of Kaspersky Lab Asia Pacific. He has been tasked with growing the company’s business in more than 25 countries across the region.

Before joining Kaspersky, Neumeier held leadership roles at Unify, Avaya, San Disk and McAfee. He will succeed Maxim Mitrokhin who will return to his previous role as operations director.

Kaspersky Lab’s chief sales officer, Alexander Moiseev, said: “With Stephan’s extensive industry experience, we are confident that he will be able to help our partners in the region grow further and faster.”

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Verve invests in Detroit

Location-centric mobile ad firm Verve is playing its part in the revival of Detroit.

The former motor town is underling a rebirth, with a 26 per cent rise in high-tech jobs since 2015. Now, Verve has opened a new office in Southfield, Michigan, to boost its presence in the region.

It is Verve’s seventh sales office worldwide. The company has promoted Christina Shinsky to group director of the new base.

Kevin Arrix, Chief Revenue Officer at Verve, said: “The industries that are revitalizing Detroit have turned their eyes to the future. Innovation drives them, as it drives us, and this expansion marks the opportunity to help Detroit’s stakeholders bring world-class location-aware mobile creative to brands and consumers.”

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