We provide solutions that help bridging the digital divide: Sumesh Menon, co-founder & CEO U2opia Mobile
U2opia Mobile has recently launched start-up accelerator program “Catapult”. It is a launch pad program for start-ups which is aimed at providing a platform for growing and scaling early stage product ideas to a global audience. “Being a start-up ourselves, we strongly believe in the entrepreneurial spirit of the youth in the country,” says Sumesh Menon, co-founder & CEO U2opia Mobile in a interaction with Express Computer.
Tell us about U2opia mobile. What are some of your products?
We are a company that drives technology, innovation and fuels transformation by providing solutions that help bridging the digital divide. We believe that there are endless possibilities in the world of data primarily keeping sponsored data solutions in the centre of innovation. Our solutions enable business agility in an application economy, our solutions engage a variety of customers, across generations of handsets. Incepted in the year 2010 we announced our flagship product Fonetwish that enables ubiquitous and customized access to the social internet on USSD. With the changing times, we have also forayed into data driven solutions. We also have a sponsored data solution Fonepass that excites customers with possibilities of data in markets like Africa, South America, Bangladesh etc. We are present in 45 countries and working with more than 81 carriers and aiming to improved end user experience by hand-holding a customer from 1G to 4G.
Being a start-up ourselves, we strongly believe in the entrepreneurial spirit of the youth in the country. To this effect, we recently announced the launch of our start up accelerator program “Catapult”. The Catapult programis a launch pad program for start-ups which is aimed at providing a platform for growing and scaling early stage product ideas to a global audience. Under this program, early-stage start-ups and entrepreneurial teams were invited through application and focused on innovation in scalable mobile technology. We already have 3 start-ups on board for the program
How is U2opia Mobile trying to help its customers with its different products?
We offer a catalogue of products which are built to give its customers utility. Our aim is to make things easier for those who use our products. Our flagship product, Fonetwish is USSD enabling platform which enables an interaction between the enterprises and users without the barrier of device or geography hindering it. With the world’s best and largest mobile carriers already on board with us, along with global publishers like Facebook and Twitter, the Fonetwish platform offers robust and scalable solutions for any business seeking to tap markets across Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.
The other product is Fonepass that helps transform the mobile phone into a flexible and powerful tool hence increasing engagement by exciting customers to use data and rewards loyal users with instant access to free content or data. Fonepass is smart platform that supports full or partial data sponsoring where publishers, carriers and advertisers can subsidize and sponsor the consumer data cost. It helps address one of the biggest challenges of graduating non-data pack users and reduces the barrier to entry to mobile data and provides telecom operators and brands the power to engage segmented users. Fonepass is a product designed for Africa and Bangladesh as these markets require a medium like this in order to promote data consumption. We have recently also launched our proprietary zero rated apps store, Apps2U, which is powered on Fonepass. The app store is currently live with a leading operator in Bangladesh and it allows subscribers to access a wide variety of applications ranging from, utility apps to entertainment, without being charged for additional data.
Apps2u, allows customers with low or no data balance to access mobile apps at no additional cost. Once users logs on, they can choose the apps they want to access, start engaging and get rewarded for their usage, immediately. The app store gratifies users for downloading the app along with gratifying users for the usage of the app, instantly.
What are your growth plans and future strategy for the product?
We are continuously working towards making our products better. We understand the importance of connectivity and consumer networking. As we move further, we will continue to connect the unconnected. For the same, we will continue to collaborate with global internet giants and telecom carriers to realize this and help people become the part of real connected world.
How has been the growth of your various products?
We have seen tremendous growth for all our products. Fonetwish spans across 55 countries, 89 mobile operators, across 7 languages and 1 billion potential users and acts as a bridge between enterprises seeking large-scale reach for their content and the under-served mass of users in the emerging markets. While for our solution Fone pass, we are already operating in the markets like Africa, South America, Bangladesh etc. We launched Fonepass in Bangladesh in December last year with Robi, a leading telecom operator in Bangladesh. All applications available on Fonepass witness close to 5000 downloads per month.
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