E-Zebra -a mobile Internet portal aimed at the youth market - launches today with an array of services that can be delivered to SMS and WAP-capable phones.
Users can go to the Terabyte-developed site and register for the text services they want - from surf and snow news to entertainment listings, "top CDs" and horoscopes. Through a deal with the online auction provider TradeMe, E-Zebra will also offer the country's first auction-to-mobile service.
E-Zebra has a strategic partnership with Ericsson which provides E-Zebra’s technology platform and WAP capabilities. It has also formed a relationship with Vodafone to provide "integrated mobile Internet services" from E-Zebra to Vodafone customers.
“At E-Zebra we are defining the next generation of mobile Internet applications," says CEO Andy Rolfe. "E-Zebra has evolved out of substantial research, development and experience in the mobile phone Internet interchange and for our first mobile portal we have put this together with an in-depth understanding of the youth market.
“Young people are the early adopters and the highest growth area in these new technologies. They will be at the forefront of the growth of the Internet capable mobile device, which is forecast to reach 750,000 in New Zealand within the next 4 years. They are essentially the 3G Generation."
Rolfe says E-Zebra will generate income from several sources: content messages, "permission-based marketing" and web-based advertising, plus special offers and product sales.
Rolfe says E-Zebra will next launch in Australia before the end of the year and follow with at least two Asian markets in the first half of next year. He says the initial focus will be on the youth market and lifestyle segments, but says there will be other vertical portals created in identified niches.
E-Zebra has offices in Wellington and Auckland and describes its main backer as "a technology investment company".