biNu Secures $2 Million Series A from TomorrowVentures and others to build out Mobile Social Content Platform for Developing World
4 million monthly active users, growing at 400%
Sydney, Australia and San Francisco, CA: biNu, the mobile app platform that brings iPhone-like experiences to low-end smartphones and feature phones, today announced a $2 million funding round from Eric Schmidt’s TomorrowVentures, David Risher and other private investors in Australia and the U.S.
Since launching 18 months ago, biNu has attracted 4 million active monthly users spread across the world, particularly in emerging markets where mobile devices are the primary, and often only, connected device and where biNu is often a user’s first experience of the internet.
biNu’s cloud based technology platform powers the data-lite app, providing fast and affordable access to apps and popular internet services that can be used immediately. Users can instantly switch between services, change to local languages and translate almost anything on the fly, including messages, books and news articles, without having to download and install separate apps.
In addition to using biNu to access favorite apps such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube and more than 100 other services such as books, health information, news, sports and weather, biNu users are also interacting with each other via social features including messaging, sharing and social profiles, making it a content-rich mobile social community.
biNu co-founder and CEO Gour Lentell: “As publishers, content owners and social companies race into emerging markets looking for growth, mobile devices and mobile networks simply can’t keep up. biNu set out to give the 4 or 5 billion people who don’t have top end smartphones or reliable high bandwidth cellular networks a great mobile internet experience. It has grown much faster than we imagined but the big surprise was that our users started requesting ways to interact with each other, which actually created a thriving mobile social community of its own.”
“biNu is changing the lives of millions of people, giving them access to information they can’t get otherwise. For example, 20 million book pages were read on biNu last month, the majority by people who struggle to get their hands on physical books, let alone e-books.”
Despite the rapid growth in high-end smartphones, such as the iPhone, lower end smartphones and feature phones still outsell them by about 5-to-1, providing an enormous and rapidly growing market for a high quality platform for lower end mobile phones.
On lower-end phones, other social networks are much more about networking and messaging and less about content sharing, like it is on the web. biNu’s platform enables content in a sharable manner within a community context, which is unique for lower-end devices.
Brad Holden from TomorrowVentures commented: “biNu serves a huge market through its platform that significantly enhances the user experience on mobile phones and low-end smartphones. Not only are consumers in the developing world seeking a better mobile service, more companies are now trying to reach these consumers via their mobile devices and need an effective and high-speed platform like biNu in order to do so. biNu has the technology as well as a strong management team with an outstanding track record with two previous startups, and we look forward to supporting their ongoing leadership in this space.”
Leading Australian tech entrepreneur and biNu investor, Paul Bassat, added: “I am excited to have become an investor in biNu. It is attacking a massive market, showing extremely strong growth in its subscriber base and its members are very loyal thanks to a rich content experience combined with social capabilities. biNu is making an enormous difference to the lives of people in the developing world by providing them with a rich internet experience.”
biNu is a privately held company that develops the biNu mobile app platform that dramatically improves Internet access speed, usability and social connectivity of mobile phones. With biNu, even basic mobile phones exhibit high-end smartphone-like capabilities. biNu works on the thousands of Java-enabled and Android-devices and supports millions of users globally with rapid adoption rates in emerging economies where mobile phones are the primary Internet access device. Today, over 100 channels are available via biNu including social media, search, reference, books, SMS, news, weather and entertainment.
Founded in 2009 with a unique approach to venture capital and an extensive, diverse base of experience and expertise, TomorrowVentures adds value far beyond capital. Tomorrow Ventures’ goal is to grow companies capable of transforming technology, lifestyle, and philanthropy.
About Paul Bassat
Paul co-founded SEEK in 1997 and oversaw its growth to one of world’s largest online employment businesses and one of Australia’s top 100 companies with a market capitalisation of $2.5b.
Paul is an active investor in early stage technology and growth companies. He is a Commissioner of the Australian Football League (AFL) and was appointed as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2009.