Saya What? A Small Company and the Underserved 3.8 billion User Emerging Economy Mobile Market
There are around 5.3 billion mobile subscribers across the world, meaning 77% of the world’s population uses a phone. Around 3.8 billion of these mobile users live in emerging economies. Mobile solution provider, and TechCrunch Disrupt start-up Saya (pronounced, Say-yah), wants to be part of that market—the unsaturated part. The company’s solution targets the most basic, lowest priced phones that access the internet.
Available on J2ME, Blackberry (and soon Android and iOS platforms), Saya allows users to message phone and Facebook contacts, as well as conduct random streetchats with nearby users. Saya’s Java solution creates smartphone-like features for traditional mobile phones and integrates three chat types into a single application. The company’s goal? To cultivate consumers from the billions of people around the world who aren’t smart-phone enabled.
Emerging Economies Mobile Market
Just how big is this market? Big today, and bigger tomorrow. Industry expert Vision Mobile’s Mobile Megatrends report illustrates the market opportunity.
Across the board, analysts agree on the growth of non-smart broadband phones, particularly in emerging markets. In fact, as NASDAQ reports, once-prominent Nokia is banking on it as a major part of their strategy to regain market relevance. The company is aggressively introducing “feature phones” like the Nokia 110 to emerging markets like India and Indonesia. These and other countries provide a huge demand for feature phones, where Nokia doesn’t have to compete against price-prohibitive Apple iPhones.
Phones like the 110 are internet-ready, dual-SIM enabled, but possessing far fewer capabilities than smartphones. Essentially, each of these phones is Saya-ready, and that’s what the company is banking on. In countries that can’t produce the infrastructure support demand for smartphones, feature phones are highly desirable. And in these same markets where consumer disposable income is limited, a solution like Saya’s is primed for adoption.
Where traditional SMS messages can cost around $0.01 a piece, Saya’s solution registers at more like $0.01 per month. They do this with ads, but relevant ones. Relevant because they are location based. Saya is banking on this being a trade-off users will accept, and initial metrics indicate they’re right. The company’s initial “alpha” invitation to 2,000 users quickly grew to 400,000. This, because each new user was encouraged to invite others. That number then grew to 9 million invitations across several countries, and things were put on hold.Continued on the next page