The mobile market is booming, all around the world, and where there is growth, you will find companies looking to get a piece of the action. One place to find new markets is in developing nations. Users in developing nations, which are quick to adopt new communications technologies, account for two-thirds of all mobile phone use, according to a report by the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations organization.
Mig33, a company that makes a social media platform for both smartphones and standard cell phones in developing markets, raised $8.9 million in its third round of funding. The round was led by Sugiono Wiyono Sugialam and Gree Inc., a Japanese social networking service. Other investors in the round include Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures and DCM.
This brings the company's total funding raised to roughly $34 million.
The company, which was founded in 2005, relocated to Singapore last May, in order to bring their services into developing parts of Asia. Other markets it specifically targets include India, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Mig33 is focusing on what it has named “mobile first” markets, which refers to markets where consumers are buying a mobile phone or similar device as a primary computing device, instead of a desktop, laptop, netbook or tablet PC.
The company began as a budget friendly voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP) service for cell phones. Over the last five years, it developed into a social networking service with more than 40 million registered users, adding chat and virtual gifts, as well as games. Last week, Mig33 expanded to include a game developer program, an attempt to offer a greater variety of titles to their users. The company also has a virtual payment platform, with more then 1,000 virtual items available for both in-game use and for dressing up end user avatars. Currently, the company sells about 4 million virtual items each month.
Mig33 is not, of course, alone in this market. They have some stiff competition in both Japan-based DeNA and China-based Tencent. DeNa is a fairly large social gaming company. Tencent runs the QQ social chat network.
Mig33 was not available for immediate comment.
(image from Mig33.)