SA COMPANY “THE CONVERGENCE GROUP”
EMERGES AS ONE OF THE TOP TEN E-BUSINESS TEAMS IN THE WORLD
Johannesburg based company The Convergence Group recently reached
the top ten finals of the international “e-biz challenge” hosted by
the Dubai Internet City under the auspices of the Crown Prince
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makhtoum. The project’s aim was to
attract the best e-business projects in the world to Dubai in line
with its view to becoming the IT hub of the world.
The competition attracted 1385 entries from 35 countries of which
154 were shortlisted and 24 proceeded to the semi-finals.
Convergence Group's board of Directors from left to right :
Nisaar A Pangarker - Director Strategy & Finance, Morris Garda -
Director Operations, Hamza Farooqui Group Chairman & CEO, Imtiaz
Patel - Director New Media.
The 24 teams were from the UAE, India, USA, Australia, Lebanon,
Egypt, Netherlands, Scandinavia, and South Africa. The Convergence
Group was the only team from SA to reach the semi-finals and
subsequently reached the top ten finals.
The adjudicators were a high-profile team of experts from all over
the world, and included investment bankers, IT professionals, CEO’s,
and government officials.
The Convergence Group is headed by the 18 year old CEO, Hamza
Farooqui from Johannesburg. Hamza started a cricket portal,
icricketer.com at the age of 12 with the vision of building a
cricket site rich in exclusive content. “Today we have 22
journalists from all over the world feeding exclusive cricketing
content onto the site. We rarely use agency feeds. All our content
is provided by our exclusive team of journalists who report from
wherever the game is played. Right now we have an exclusive feature
written by former Pakistani captain Waseem Akram.
Icricketer.com has evolved from being just a cricket site to being a
cricket portal now supplying cricketing news and information to
other platforms such as television, radio, and other online media.
We have also developed our own technology enabling us to provide
content to cellphones, electronic billboards, bleepers and other
electronic devices says Hamza.
It was a great experience being part of the competition. We met with
the team that evaluated our business proposal and had excellent
networking sessions with incubators, angel investors, and venture
capitalists. Our final presentation to the jury was the climax of
the week long programme. We had exactly thirty minutes to present
and 15 minutes for questions.
Reaching the semi-finals in itself was a feat, as there were stiff
competition from the other teams. Our whole team was elated when our
group was announced as one of the ten finalists.
Cape Town based director of the Convergence Group in charge of group
strategy and finance, Nisaar Pangarker said that notwithstanding the
past, this was evidence that South Africa has the ability to produce
world class businesses. On meeting and networking with the other
teams in Dubai you realise that the isolation of SA business is
over. On a level playing field, if you have the right idea governed
by sound business principles and technical skill that the industry
demands, the funds will automatically find you.
“At the Convergence Group our mission is to provide quality content
to focussed communities on multiple platforms. The global theme in
IT is that of convergence, which was evidenced by the recent Time
Warner / AOL merger. You can now surf the net off your tv, or watch
tv on your pc, and there is greater interactivity. The Convergence
Group is positioned to become a serious player in this industry. We
aim to own or have significant control over the actual distribution
platforms for our content. says Nisaar.
“We now have six years of online experience with icricketer.com and
the formula to replicate the success of this model to other genres.
In that line we have acquired a significant stake in Channel Islam,
the worlds first global Muslim Audio service broadcasting on the
WorldSpace satellite service which has the capacity to reach 4,8
billion people worldwide. We have a long standing relationship with
WorldSpace and we believe that there are tremendous synergies
between our online activity and expertise and this service says
Imtiaz Patel, director responsible for new media.
“It will be a pleasure moving the group to Dubai given its proximity
to the cricket audiences worldwide. Currently we have approximately
6 million impressions on icricketer.com per month and we foresee
this growing threefold after moving the unit to Dubai. Dubai
Internet City has a first class telecoms infrastructure which runs
off a fibre-optic backbone, needless to say what this does to
connections speeds and efficiencies. says Ismail Morris Garda, a
National Selector of the SA cricket team and also a director of the
It has been a long walk for six years, but Farooqui believes In the
search for excellence there is no compromise and finish line.