Frontier Market Intelligence Ltd, a UK-registered company, recently acquired leading South African digital publishing company, Global Africa Network, and has launched a ground-breaking online business network specifically for ‘frontier’ markets. FMI’s co-founder and chief executive officer Chris Pilling gives an insight into the company and the product.
What is the Frontier Market Network?
The Frontier Market Network www.frontiermarketnetwork.com is the largest premium online business network for fast growing ‘frontier’ markets. This network or community is comprised of companies, government organisations and individuals involved in doing business, investing, promoting or supporting deal transactions in rapidly developing economies.
The network is a source of highly valuable business information, which allows members to substantially increase business leads and business transactions in the markets in which they operate.
The network has been built using next-generation web technology that focuses on the importance of the business relationships between the members. Rather than connecting people and businesses because of who they know, the Frontier network will allow connections based on the business deals they wish to complete. It is this focus on the deal-making and transaction process that sets Frontier apart from more traditional networking platforms.
What services and benefits does the Frontier Network offers its members?
Essentially we are offering our members business leads and deal flow. Whether you are a government department tasked with investment promotion, a private equity company seeking new investments or a solar-panel manufacturer looking for new distribution agreements, ultimately the ambition of each of these organisations is to do more transactions.
Once firms are members of the network they are able to:
• Network with other people, companies and organisations
• Promote investment opportunities and attract investors
• Promote business opportunities and establish new business relationships
• Profile their companies and executives
• Promote products and services
• Access business intelligence on companies, countries and regions to assist in making investment and business decision
• Receive email alerts about business opportunities that match their sectors and regions of interest
Could you give us more of an idea of the types of members on your network?
The following types of organisations form part of the target market:
• Businesses, business owners and entrepreneurs
• Private equity and venture capital companies
• Government bodies and agencies – in particular, investment promotion agencies
• Professional services companies such as law firms, accountants, tax consultants, regulatory
• Specialists and environmental consultants
• Banks, trade finance and corporate finance firms
• Development finance and aid organisations
• Research and due diligence companies
Is there a membership fee?
Not for standard membership. You simply register online at which time you will be asked about your business and your specific areas of interest so we can appropriately profile you and make sure you only receive information and opportunities that are relevant to you. At any stage you can adjust this profile to extend or reduce the range of information that you wish to receive.
There is a cost should you wish to become a premium members. Premium members enjoy a wide range of additional benefits including the capacity to associate their company with specific opportunities on our platform. For example, if you are an environmental-research company based in Durban and a premium member of the network, we will ensure that your company is presented to other members of the network who may be negotiating deals that require an environmental study before completion. In summary, we associate companies with potential customers around specific projects at the specific time they require a service.
Could you give some background to your company?
The Frontier Market Network is a product of Frontier Market Intelligence Ltd (FMI) a UK company that has offices in Cape Town, London, Nairobi, Abuja and Johannesburg. FMI is the parent company of Cape Town-based Global Africa Network Pty Ltd, the market-leading business-to-business publisher that already owns and produces a range of premium print business annuals (such as South Africa Business), in addition to the ground-breaking digital products TradeInvest SA (www.tradeinvestsa.co.za) and TradeInvest Africa (www.tradeinvestafrica.com). The TradeInvest products are being merged with the Frontier Network to create the biggest premium business network for ‘frontier’ markets.
Why have you chosen a platform for ‘frontier’ markets in particular?
We believe that the rapidly developing economies in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa will soon be at the heart of the global economy. In creating the Frontier Market Network we aim to provide a platform for those that are shaping and growing these economies.
Many international companies are keen to initiate business and investment conversations with companies in countries such as South Africa but struggle because they don’t have access to local business networks that allow them to effectively research and then complete deals. In the same way there are many excellent local companies that are seeking international partners or investors but don’t have access to the international business networks. Not only does Frontier provide a solution for these stakeholders, but critically, we can then engage the relevant ‘deal-support suppliers’ such as lawyers, research consultants, accountants, etc that can actually tie transactions together. Traditional social networks link people; however, our platform creates linked clusters of businesses and people based upon specific business opportunities.
Chris Pilling is a media and technology entrepreneur who has been the founder and CEO of a number of successful businesses. His particular focus has been on the development of online business-to-business information services and the formation of online business communities. In 1997, he founded a company in the UK called Complinet, an online intelligence provider for financial services regulatory professionals. When the business was sold to Thomson Reuters in May 2010, the company was generating revenues of £25-million and employed 230 staff in five offices around the world.
If you are interested in joining the FMI network and would like to be notified about its launch, please email: email@example.com