18-year old CEO of local .com bats
e-commerce for a six"
iCricketer.com takes cricket from pitch to the desktop and the cell
iCricketer.com, the official Standard Bank cricket Web site for the
2000 Australian tour to South Africa, is run by one of the youngest
CEOs in South Africa, 18-year old Hamza Farooqui. He has
single-handedly created a Web site that attracts on average three
million hits per month. He has constructed a media syndication where
iCricketer.com supplies content to the likes of ETV, Radio 702,
Highveld, and Cape Talk and has offices in South Africa as well as
Pakistan and servers in the USA.
In an electronic driven age, it is the large enterprises that are
forging ahead in the electronic commerce arena. Which to some is
surprising. The management style and business model of the
yester-year simply cannot be replicated to build a successful
electronic brand nor can it be used to create a winning business to
consumer electronic commerce model that is profitable.
According to Hamza Farooqui, the teenage CEO of iCricketer.com,
building a successful electronic brand, or in this case, portal
site, lies in the convergence of technology: "Our success lies in
the integration of Internet technology and media. We have worked to
provide end-users with access to cricket content via various
channels including the Internet and via a dedicated Cricket Call
Centre. We are currently in negotiation with numerous key industry
leaders to supply our subscriber base with cricket scores via WAP."
Farooqui goes on to explain that iCricketer.com is not another
run-of-the-mill portal. "We are different," states the Johannesburg
born teenager. "We make the Internet work for us. Many start-ups
attempt to use the Web solely as a revenue generator. Instead, we
have used it to create business opportunities - revenue follows
To see iCricketer.com emerge as the top cricket portal has been
Farooqui's goal since the age of the 12. He explains that business
innovation will satisfy consumer demand. The fact that
iCricketer.com has no major investors but continues to grow its
user-base and run profitably is evidence of this.
According to Farooqui the iCricketer Group has three distinct areas
of focus namely technology, syndication and online. Delivering
quality content on new customer facing channels, like the
introduction of WAP and the introduction of live media streaming,
sits in the technology division of the Group. The creation of
relationships whereby content is delivered to the broadcast media is
the responsibility of the syndication division and growing the
online user base resides in the online division.
iCricketer.com is currently recruiting a board of directors and has
recently appointed Mr Morris Garda as executive director. Mr Garda,
a former cricketer himself, is now also a selector for the National
cricket team with the United Cricket Board of South Africa.
"Let's get down to the fun stuff," says the 18-year old. "We are
planning some exciting online events to mark the 2000 Australian
tour to South Africa. Users will be invited to bid for cricket
memorabilia, such as 20 limited edition cricket bats signed by the
South African team for the World Cup 99 as well as various signed
"We are working to make the Web site as good as being there. We
already have the technological capacity to media stream matches
directly to users desktops but are finding it a challenge to secure
distribution rights. Those busy executives who are unable to make
the matches need not worry about missing any of the action though,
as scores on the site are literally updated on a ball-by-ball basis.
A data feeder scores every single ball, all the catches, spills and
thrills," he concludes.