By 2020, more than five billion people will be mobile and new, engaging ways to access data will become increasingly important worldwide. However, in emerging markets mobile data is expensive (despite affordable handset prices) and daily wages can’t support the pay-as-you-go plans. In addition to lack of Internet access, this becomes a missed opportunity for brands that are expected to spend $300 billion on advertising in the next four years. For this reason we are excited to announce that we have invested in Jana, a company that has successfully utilized advertising to offset data costs to deliver emerging market consumers with free data.
Founded in 2009, Jana enables mobile applications to be truly free in emerging markets through its proprietary mCent app. Users earn credits that allow access to the mobile Internet by interacting with marketing messages, or engaging with other apps. From completing user surveys to trying apps like Flipkart, users gain airtime rewards to their mobile account that can defray data charges. The average mCent user gets 56 MB per month and pays 150 MB out of pocket. Free Internet connectivity is made possible through partnerships with 311 mobile operators in more than 90 countries.
As the second largest mobile advertising platform in India next to Google, Jana drives ROI and engagement with more than 3,600 brands, including Amazon, Saavn, Twitter and WeChat to provide users access to the whole Internet. To date, over 30 million users have benefited from four million megabytes of app usage driven by Jana’s platform. In return, mobile app companies can gain insight into targeting a new segment of users with the ability to offer a free trial of their app so users can understand whether or not it will add value, without having to incur that upfront cost.
With a mission to bring free, unrestricted Internet access to the next billion users, we look forward to Jana’s development as they drive continued growth in emerging markets.
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