Serial Entrepreneur Ashish J. Thakkar Introduces Mara Online - a Unique Set of Social Portals for Connecting Africa Globally

Mara Online provides professional, personal and social tools for communicating, networking, innovating and collaborating across borders

SAN FRANCISCO, May 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The launch of Mara Online was announced today by Ashish J Thakkar, Founder and CEO of Mara Group and Mara Foundation, during his keynote at the world's largest entrepreneur's conference TiEcon. The vision of this new online and mobile platform is to become the first most inspirational choice for connecting African youth across the continent and to the world.


Mara Online is an online and mobile eco-system allowing users to communicate, interact and collaborate with each other via social portals, while building communities that are centered around common interests and information needs. Mara Online is a convergence of web and mobile technology that creates user-driven experiences spanning from educational tools for entrepreneurs to highly interactive mobile applications that provide connectivity to people across the globe.

"With the expansion of the African mobile and internet markets, we strive to develop quality services and tools that will empower and inspire African users. By engaging with our African youth, our goal is to support them in creating an identity in the world of technology, enabling them to innovate, share and collaborate across borders", Ashish J. Thakkar stated during his keynote speech.

Three new mobile platforms to stay connected in Africa

Throughout this year, Mara Online will launch its own mobile applications. The first three applications are communication focused, with the ambition to create new opportunities for African youth and ultimately change the way people interact online across the continent:

  • MaraConnect - A free mobile VoIP, allowing smartphone and tablet users across Africa to call and text for free, both domestically and internationally. As of today, this application is available in App Stores and on Google Play.
  • MaraMessenger - An instant messaging platform facilitating real time communication via mobile and offers quick transmission of text-based messages.
  • BuzzMe - The first African social media network, providing a new way for youth to meet and network across the continent and globally, via the Internet and on mobile. BuzzMe will be interlinked with the other applications and allow members to chat online using MaraMessenger and via VOIP on MaraConnect.

"Launching today, I am confident that MaraConnect will shake up the market and become the premier choice for connecting people in Africa and beyond, while reducing consumers' costs for mobile communication", Ashish J Thakkar announced.

The idea behind Mara Online started off last year when Mara created Mara Mentor; an online mentoring platform to support young entrepreneurs. Launched as an initiative by Mara Foundation and Mara Online, this platform already has over a 100,000 users. Going forward with new product launches as part of the Mara Online platform, MaraMessenger and MaraConnect will serve as the two communication tools for Mara Mentor. The Mara Online ecosystem will be truly interconnected and thus enabling African youth to communicate more freely on a global scale.

For more information about Mara Group and Mara Online, please visit

For more information about Mara Connect, or to download the app please visit

SOURCE: Mara Group

For further information:

Sabina Lindstedt, Communications Director at Mara
+ 971 567 798 974 or

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