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The Content Bar: Michael Balkind

Mobflashing goes digital with an innovative new brand experience.

Nadine Todd




The entrepreneur

Michael Balkind launched JHB Live ten years ago. Since then, he has mastered the art of building online communities and creating meaningful online content that consumers can really relate to. “Anyone can flood the digital world with content,” he says. “The real question is whether your customer cares about that content. Does it mean anything to them?” This understanding of consumer/brand interaction has led directly to the development of Mobflashing, a stand-alone product and supplier to The Content Bar, Balkind’s digital agency that has branched out into brand activations in its quest to create kick-ass content.

The idea

“JHB Live really pioneered event photography,” says Balkind. “Once the digital age caught up and anyone could post images on Facebook and Twitter in real time, we needed to innovate again. We started introducing funky props that people could pose with, and from there we set up photo booths – these weren’t just images posted onto the Web anymore. It became an experience.” Mobflashing was the natural development of this idea. “Our first Mobflashing campaign was for Vodacom. We set up a ‘Player 23’ booth at rugby games that included speech bubbles and big props and fans could get their photos taken for free.”

The differentiator

The beauty of the Mobflashing product is that it’s linked to all digital platforms. The moment a photo or video is taken it can be uploaded, posted and shared on a variety of social networking sites, all at the touch of an interactive screen button. Each Mobflashing booth comes standard with an Internet connection and user-friendly instructions, all based on software that The Content Bar has developed. “People want to share their experiences,” says Balkind. “This product works because everyone wins: the branding remains front and centre, but brand fans are creating content that means something to them – which in turn means they share it. It’s instant storytelling, broadcast live.”

It’s all about the ‘stickiness’

Content creation is truly effective if it’s being shared. Another example is based on Vodacom’s ‘every day I’m shuffling’ campaign. Mobflashing booths were set up at malls around the country, and brand fans could create a music video of themselves, dressed up, dancing to the song. The videos could be downloaded to their mobile phones immediately, which meant they were shared with friends. Over 6 000 videos were shared over and over again — the community did the work.

Where it’s at

At this point, Mobflashing supplies The Content Bar with an additional and experiential product that the digital agency can offer its corporate clients as part of a broader digital and content creation strategy. It’s also available to private clients for weddings, events and even at clubs. Themed photo booths are set up at the venue, and all images can be printed and shared in an instant.

Vital Stats

Player: Michael Balkind
Company: The Content Bar (2005)
Mobflashing (2011)
Concept: Real time fun-filled photo and video generation

Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton



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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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Colin Timmis Says ‘Position Yourself For Success By Starting With The Numbers’

People pay first who they feel pressure from, so people will pay you when they feel pressure from you.






Entrepreneur Colin Timmis founded South Africa’s first cloud accounting practice in 2011, Real Time Accounting. Then, a few years after being appointed as South Africa’s first Xero partner Colin became Xero Country Manager South Africa. Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services.

Related: Pat Pillai On How He’s Helped Over 5000 Entrepreneurs Using 3 Key Steps

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Company Posts

Two 20 Year Olds Reshape Entrepreneur Landscape With New Social Investment Platform

The Merge vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

Merge Connect




Vital Stats

It’s no secret that finding the right investor for your venture is a challenge that most entrepreneurs face. The current process of finding investment is one that is outdated, and limits entrepreneurs due to a lack of time, and network that is needed to find the right investor. But, this doesn’t have to be the case in today’s digital society, says Zander Matthee and Brandon Bate, co-founders of Merge.

“By making the Internet the middleman, we are able to connect with each other much simpler and faster than before” was Zander’s response. “We have taken advantage of this, and have created a digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors” added Brandon.

Merge is a social platform that connects entrepreneurs and investors. It aims to simplify, refine and accelerate the process of finding investment for entrepreneurs, and the process of finding investment opportunities for investors. From idea to developed, the platform allows entrepreneurs to present a brief outline of their venture to a network of all investor types. While doing this, entrepreneurs are able to browse through, and connect with investor profiles that suit their requirements.

Related: 8 Codes Of Success That Helped Priven Reddy of Kagiso Interactive Media Achieve A Networth Of Over R4 Billion

From Private Investors to Venture Capital, and everything in between, Merge allows all investor types to join. Investors have the opportunity to personalise their feed to suit their investment preferences, and will be able to connect with innovative businesses – that are looking for investment – at their fingertips. Only once there is a mutual interest in each other, are users able to enter a secure private chat where they can discuss further and share documents under the protection of a digital NDA.

The two boys became good friends during their time in high school at St Stithians Boys College. However, it was only in their last year, 2016, that they decided to pursue their dreams and create the platform. They didn’t know how to code, so rather ironically, they needed some form of investment to get the platform off the ground.


“We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we believed in our vision and that we were really trying to make a difference, and if we could get others to see that, they would be onboard.” said Zander.

Related: Lessons From The Rich And Famous: Manage Your Money Like Oprah To Avoid Going Into Debt Like Nicholas Cage

Chris Peters is one of these individuals that bought into their vision, and became Merge’s first investor. As a successful entrepreneur and part time investor , Chris saw how much value the platform could bring to all entrepreneurs and investors alike. His marketing and strategic background gave him insight into how Merge could play a vital role in a lucrative space, Brand involvement.

“Entrepreneurship and SME development are two key factors that drive economic growth in developing countries like South Africa. That is why brands are currently getting involved, and looking to support entrepreneurs through various means. We have built a platform that allows these brands to successfully market, and execute on the programmes they have created to assist entrepreneurs.” said Chris

Merge was created to assist all entrepreneurs and investors in finding exactly what they are looking for, regardless of age, race, sex, financial position or social status. That is why anybody can sign-up as an entrepreneur. As long as you are determined and willing to work for your dreams. For too long has the investor space been seen as an “elite club for the select few”, and Merge is here to change that. Whether you’ve gotten your bonus at the end of the year and looking for new investment opportunities, or are an active investor, you can sign-up. Whether you’re currently working, or a retired industry leader, you can join as a mentor.

Their vision is to become the ‘go to’, digital meeting place for entrepreneurs and investors, and to truly make a difference in the world.

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