Vodafone acquires Zyb for $50M – a PK development success story

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Update: See Comments for more facts and clarifications. Original story below.

About a month ago, Vodafone acquired Zyb for about US $50Million. Zyb is a mobile phone applications company that started with a simple contacts-backup system, and then later integrated social networking and sharing components into their massive social graph of users. Think about it as a mix between Facebook, LinkedIn and mobile phones as a service that creates a social contacts system.

Whats little known about this story is that a part of their development staff was based in Pakistan, incubated by the Pi Sigma group and managed by some of top technical guys on mobile development from companies like MobileWeaver (who created YouPark and supported Vopium).

Interesting case study that shows that if you know you’re really good at something, there’s nothing to stop you from big success.

Facebook comments:


  • Thanks Osama for sharing this and I really loved when you said:

    If you know you’re really good at something, there’s nothing to stop you from big success.

    I second you bro. Any instance of media news about this product?

  • Media coverage about Zyg? Techcrunch has covered it 5-6 times… it was also a featured web app for the iphone when it launched.

  • Congratulations to the team.. certainly a great achievement.

    I tried out zyb but quickly gave up lol tooooo many social networks to keep up with.. but interesting never-the-less..

  • Mobilecomplete, pixsense, zyb, vopium, mobileweaver, palmchip – these guys have brought in 10s of millions of dollars of investment into pakistan and generated 10x valuation for their US and European investors. Ofcourse the pakistani founders and early employees gained world Class exposure and equity.

    this too in an area of r&d where academia hasn’t focused; showing the skills of our engineers and entrepreuners.

  • ex Pi Sigma

    as far as i remember PSG did not “incubate” or has any thing to do with this zyb, not even any development work was outsourced to them, you gotta check the facts mate! It would have been great if this was our success but that is not the case i am afraid.

  • The only part of this post that is true is that zyb was acquired by Vodafone. Rest of everything is bogus. I am saying this because I am one of the guys who know this whole situation better than most of the people around, as I happen to know the small part of ZYB team in Pakistan very well.

    Here are few facts
    Not a single line of code for ZYB was written in Pakistan. ZYB maintains a very talented team of developers but all of them are in Denmark and England as per my knowledge no one of them is from Pakistan.

    ZYB only maintains a small support team in Pakistan who are doing a great job in their own capacity but they are not doing anything regarding the development.

    MobileWeavers have not provided any technical support to ZYB what so ever.

    The support team is not incubated by Pisigma group. I know that as my company (Geopaq Technologies) used to be a part of Pisigma group and now it is a totally separate entity and is a Mondo Company now.

    I would have loved that all what is written in your post was true. But let’s get out the “Fools paradise” as it’s not.

    I recommend that you should do some research before posting, as writing anything without knowing the exact facts make you a Liar(I do not say this and I hope you know who said this).

  • Ahem .. I remember the amaana/epay posting comments where someone suggested this place looked like a bar.

    Osama has publicized this story to a large community of Pakistan’s IT watchers who wouldn’t have otherwise known this, so lets credit G&W platform for doing that. He made the links to different product and companies not by picking random names from a hat. If his sources have forwarded him incorrect information, Osama will be the first to post that here.

    Do remember the justification provided by Bush for Iraq take-over was completely misled, and he managed to misled a Billion people. Sources are not always correct.

    Should this post be here? yes. The spirit of this article is correct. The PK presence of Zyb is being acknowledged. Their role in this overall success, whether 1% or 10% is the details. Everyone has the civilian right to give their input on 1% vs. 10% and so be happy; you rarely get to do that in the real world.

  • ex Pi Sigma

    @ farzal : you are missing the point mate .. psg and mweaver have nothing to do with the success ( called an old friend for this) so aint this just cheap publicity or mere garbling the fact to get attention!

  • folks some quick facts.

    MobileWeaver bought Tommy CEO of Zyb to Pakistan to set up his end-user support team. None of there development took place in Pakistan (but in Cambridge & Copenhagen) Note: Tommy is a friend and regardless of the countries situation for past few years, he still has his support team here. Salute!

    PiSigma is responsible for management contract for Zyb’s End user support team based in Islamabad though they never incubated it.

    Congrats to the support team & Zyb HQ for a super idea that people love to use.

  • @ ex pi sigma: if we replace ‘incubated’ by ‘management contracted’ – the article suddenly seems a lot more balanced. That’s what meant by ‘details’

  • :) folks we have nothing more to contribute to Zyb’s success except the fact that CEO is a friend, founders of MW bought him to Pakistan to set the end user support unit. Early idea of new Zyb was shared by Tommy with MW founders in Copenhagen some years ago.

    It is Tommy as a leader and great entrepreneur who believed in his idea and executed like a rock star! Without a great end user support any ones business stinks and Zyb has one of the best support team based in Islamabad managed/contracted by xyz :)

    Farzal this amaana is super, are you guys based in Islamabad? (umar.caapu@gmail.com)

  • amaana is based out of Lahore with offices in Karachi and Islamabad.

    feel free to ‘request’ funds from me by sending my first name @ amaana.com a request transaction (see http://www.amaana.com/beta/getHelp.do). then use my payment to you to buy some airtime and get the feel for this technology platform that bridges the gap between the banked and un-banked.

  • Excellent… new media wins again in helping to add more perspectives.

    @Umar: Thanks for the definitive clarifications

    @Farzal: Thanks for jumping in the bar-fight on our behalf.

  • And you Osama(another Osama): you should apologize all the readers of this blog, Development and End User Support Team of ZYB, CEO of the company Mr. Tommy Alhers and Management of PSG for spreading unauthenticated news that creates misunderstandings among companies and friends.

    A humble suggestion for all is to be aware before posting such Masala stuff over the web, as companies always have the right to take legal actions against such writers. Young Bloggers! be careful.


  • Enxy, let me throw some masala your way.

    Before sending off a sniding remark itd be good if you did some research on how laws apply to new media content.

    The story isnt the stuff on the top but everything in the comments as well – I’ll be surprised if you think its not exceptionally clear that Pi Sigma and MobileWeaver have had an interaction with Zyb.

    My facts from the story above were correct – I havent implied that MobileWeaver developed Zyb nor Pi Sigma.

    Oops… that means exactly what I said – New Media wins. Commenters chose to add to a story to make it complete. I didnt ask them to.

    But clearly there are people in this world who look at a story with missing details (intentionally on repeated requests of people btw) as an opportunity to contribute what they know to be a positive force… and others who look at it as a way of complaining and be a negative force.

  • IT IS a DK development success story so you should appraise them and accept the real facts, thats my point and thats all.

    Rest, I think ethically you should apologise for such misunderstandings.

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