New markets are emerging on a daily basis hence, for communication purposes people need to be more connected. It is for this reason that Jana, a Boston-based mobile Internet start-up under the leadership of Verizon Ventures has raised $57 million to fund the connectivity mission. The funds will be used to expand into emerging markets with a particular target on China.
Expressing his excitement, CEO of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)‘s AOL, Inc. (NYSE:AOL), Tim Armstrong, and who asked to serve on Jana’s advisory board said that the investment by Jana is a worthy cause because it will boost the connectivity of more than 5 billion.
And according to Jana’s CEO, Nathan Eagle, the company through the use of the capital will endeavour to create a sales force in India and Brazil before spreading its wings into China.
Jana is in the race with other companies to capture a huge market share of the emerging markets and even though it has not revealed revenue numbers; sources indicate there it is making a profitable margin. It has had various partnership agreements that have facilitated the connectivity of more than 30 million people. However, the company’s goal is to reach out to billions of people.
Jana’s principle came about while Eagle was working in Kenya as a Fulbright Professor from where he built a system to enhance the testing of blood banks by rural nurses when supplies were low. And on the realization that this was costing a dime, he had to come up with a new business model which has responded so well and the more conviction as to why Verizon and AOL had to invest in Jana.
More than 311 mobile operators are already in partnership with the company with Publicis Groupe being the earliest investor having invested $15 million.
Jana’s mission has the same similarities to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s Free Basics, or Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Project Loon and the access to the internet is achieved by filling out surveys and seeing ads and at no cost. In the next four years, Verizon Ventures director, Vijay Doradla, estimates that a $300 billion will have been spent on advertising. The move will create an opportunity for Jana to partner with brands that will facilitate the offsetting of data costs used to access the internet.