KaiOS sets sights on Africa as next growth market - Mobile World Live

KaiOS sets sights on Africa as next growth market

10 JUL 2019

INTERVIEW: KaiOS staked a bold claim to be the world’s third major mobile operating system, noting there is plenty of headroom for the company to grow because billions of people still lack access to the internet.

Marketing director Tim Metz (pictured) told Mobile World Live the company is well placed to connect an estimated 3 billion people lacking internet connectivity, fuelled by a recent Series-B funding round which netted $50 million and took the total raised so far to more than $70 million.

The latest round was led by Cathay Innovation, which explained in a separate interview it was enticed by KaiOS’ focus on connecting people in emerging markets, along with the fact it attracted Google as the lead in its Series-A funding round.

Google also joined the latest investment round, along with device maker TCL and operator Orange. Metz noted a key strategy for KaiOS is to work “very closely” with operators around “product innovation, our roadmap, how we set up the business model”.

A similar relationship with Reliance Jio’s parent Reliance Industries presented opportunities in India and Metz expects Orange to open doors in Africa where the operator has a major presence.

KaiOS’ proposition is offering smartphone functionality in a feature phone form factor, with social media apps including WhatsApp and Facebook offered alongside Google Assistant and even GPS in devices costing around $30. This puts “the internet in reach” of people who may not otherwise be able to afford access, he said.

During the interview, Metz also discussed why KaiOS devices are better suited to the needs of users in emerging markets, its successes to date and why it believes there is still plenty of room to grow its offering.

View the full interview here.

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Michael doesn’t want to admit that he has been a journalist and editor for close to 20 years covering a diverse set of subjects including shipping and shipbuilding, fixed and mobile telecoms, and motorcycling...More

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