Free internet in emerging markets.
Users in emerging countries can download the mCent app from their phone and start to earn data by trying out sponsored apps. For every megabyte spent within the sponsored Amazon app, for example, Jana will credit the user with an additional megabyte that they can use for anything. It’s an ad-sponsored internet. mCent is integrated into 311 mobile carriers.
Place: 93 developing countries. Around half of its users worldwide are from India.
Scale: over 40 million users in emerging markets.
- Access to knowledge and online services empowers people
« I took a Fulbright scholarship at the University of Nairobi, and built an SMS system that let rural Kenyan nursers text in blood type information to the centralized blood banks,” explains Nathan Eagle, CEO to Fortune.com. “It went well the first week, but about half the nurses dropped out the second week and, by the end of the month, no nurses were using it. What I hadn’t realized was that the price of data represented a decent percentage of a rural nurse’s wage in Kenya. Basically, they couldn’t afford to send the text messages.”
After Eagle did some research on internal pricing for Kenyan mobile operations (thanks to some back-end access via MIT), he wrote around 20 lines of Python code that essentially repaid the nurses for their texts. Suddenly, the nurses reengaged. Moreover, the mobile operators realized that they could generate more revenue per user by charging the local health ministries rather than by charging the nurses. That’s how Nathan got the idea of Jana and founded the company in 2009.
- Jana raised over 93 million USD since it launched. It’s goal is to bring 1 billion people online.
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Jana offices are located in Boston. Help them bring internet to the next 1 billion.