Fred Wilson’s definitive list of mobile and web revenue models, discuss African relevance

In what ways can web and mobile companies make money? New York-based venture capitalist and blogger Fred Wilson started the ‘Web and Mobile Revenue Model Hackpad’, an online document to answer this question. But does the list that came out match the African context?

This is a very relevant question as Africa has the second largest mobile market in the world. Venture Capital for Africa, the fastest growing and largest online community connecting African entrepreneurs and investors, is asking the community to provide feedback. Together lets define which models are most relevant for an African context, using the VC4Africa Questions & Answers tool.

The Web and Mobile Revenue Model list of venture capitalist Fred Wilson lists various models as related to the categories advertising, commerce, subscription, peer-to-peer, transaction processing, licensing, data, mobile, and gaming (see the full list here and also at the bottom of this post).

Venture capitalist Fred Wilson is a well known investor in web 2.0 companies such as Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and more. But it could well be that tomorrow’s companies have names such as M-Pesa, Pagatech, KopoKopo, and … and … . The African mobile market is the fastest growing mobile market in the world. With some 650 million subscribers it has become larger than either the EU, US or Latin American market: after Asia, Africa now has the second largest mobile market in the world. At the same time, Internet bandwidth has grown 20-fold over the last five years in Africa, making the Internet accessible for more and more of Africa’s 1 billion citizens.

What parts of the list match and do not match the African context? Please share specific examples and we welcome you to add your ideas following this link to VC4Africa Questions.


• Display Ads – ex. Yahoo!
• Search Ads – ex. Google
• Text Ads – ex. Google
• Video Ads – ex. Hulu
• Audio Ads – ex. Pandora
• Promoted Content – ex. Twitter, Tumblr
• Paid content links – ex. Outbrain
• Recruitment Ads – ex. LinkedIn
• Lead Generation – ex. MoneySuperMarket, ZocDoc
• Affiliate Fees – ex. Amazon Affiliate Program
• Classifieds – ex. Craiglist
• Featured listings – e.g. Yelp, Super Pages;
• Email Ads – as done by Yahoo, MSN
• Ad Retargeting – ex. Criteo
• Real-time Intent Ad Delivery
• Location-based offers – ex/ Foursquare
• Sponsorships / Site Takeovers – ex. Pandora


• Retailing – ex. Zappos
• Marketplace – ex. Etsy
• Crowdsourced Marketplace – ex. Threadless
• Excess Capacity Markets – Uber, AirBnB
• Vertically Integrated Commerce – ex. Warby Parker
• Aggregator – ex.
• Flash Sales: Gilt Groupe, Vente Privee
• Group buying – ex. Groupon
• Digital goods / downloads – ex. iTunes
• Virtual goods – ex. Zynga
• Training – ex. Cloudera (??), -> Coursera
• Pay what you want – ex. Radiohead
• Commission – ex. SharesPost
• Commission per order – ex. Seamless, GrubHub
• Auction – ex. eBay
• Reverse Auction – ex Priceline
• Barter for services ex. SwapRightSubscription
• Software as a Service (SAAS) – ex. Salesforce
• Service as a Service – ex. Shopify
• Content as a Service – ex: Spotify, Netflix
• Infrastructure/Platform As A Service – ex. AWS
• Freemium SAAS – ex. Dropbox
• Donations – ex. Wikipedia
• Sampling – ex Birchbox
• Membership Services – ex Amazon Prime
• Support and Maintenance – ex 10gen, Red Hat
• Paywall – ex. NYTimes
• Voice and video-conferencing – ex. UberconferencePeer to Peer
• Peer-to-Peer Lending – ex. Lending Club,
• Peer-to-Peer Gambling – ex. BetFair
• Peer-to-peer buying – ex Etsy
• Peer-to-peer insurance/home/car – ex (??)
• Peer-to-peer computing (CrasPlan storage, or [email protected])
• Peer-to-peer service – ex. Mechanical Turk, TaskRabbit
• Peer-to-peer Mobile WiFi/Tethering – ex (??)

Transaction processing

• Merchant Acquiring – ex. PayPal (Online / Offline), Stripe (Online), Square (Offline)
• Intermediary – ex. IP Commerce (POS 2.0), CardSpring
• Acquiring Processing – ex. Paymentech
• Bank Transfer – ex. Dwolla
• Bank Depository Offering – ex. Simple, Movenbank (spread on average deposits)
• Bank Card Issuance – ex. Simple (interchange fee per transaction)
• Fullfilment – ex. Amazon
• Messaging – ex. Peer-to-Peer SMS, IM, Group Messaging
• Telephony – ex. termination/origination in public telephony networks (skype out/in)
• Telephony – ex. termination/origination within private telephony cloud (e.g. native skype)
• Payment Gateways: Mobile -ex. Braintree
• Platform Monetization (“Tax”) – Facebook Credits; iO6 30% cut.


• Per Seat License – ex. Sencha
• Per Device/Server License – ex. QlikView
• Per Application instance – ex. Adobe Photoshop
• Per Site License – ex. Private cloud on internal infrastructure
• Patent Licensing – ex. Qualcomm
• Brand Licensing – ex. Sesame Street
• Indirect Licensing – ex. Apple Volume Purchasing


• User data – ex. BlueKai
• Business data – ex. Duedil
• User intelligence – ex. Yougov
• Search Data – ex. Chango
• Real-time Consumer Intent Data – ex. Yieldbot
• Benchmarking services – ex. Comscore
• Market research – ex. GLG


• Paid App Downloads – ex. WhatsApp
• In-app purchases – ex. Zynga Poker
• In-app subscriptions – ex. NY Times app
• Advertising – ex. Flurry, AdMob
• Digital-to-physical – ex. Red Stamp, Postagram


• Freemium – Free to play w/ virtual currency – ex. Zynga
• Subscription- ex. World of Warcraft
• Premium – ex. xBox games
• DLC – (Downloadable Content) – ex. Call of Duty
• Ad Supported – ex –

What parts of the list match and do not match the African context? Please share specific examples and we welcome you to add your ideas following this link to VC4Africa Questions