Talk about an underdog: Jongla, the insta messaging app from Finland, has been fighting for years against heavyweight competition from WhatsApp, Kik and Voxer, but while the american IM giants have been beating each other to pulp, Jongla’s been steadily strengthening its foothold in the Eastern hemisphere.
Now it seems Jongla’s relatively small size may be blown into history: Following their launch around a year ago and a revamp of their app last December, the company tells us its progress to date has been nothing short of impressive.
“Sometimes you have to stop and think about how far we as a team and the business have come since the days of focussing purely on getting the product to market,” said Riku Salminen, CEO, Jongla. “The response has been fantastic, and we’re seeing good growth around the world, particularly in Asia. This is a major positive considering how crowded the market is. We believe we offer a unique proposition and are aiming to refine the service further in the coming months. The work doesn’t stop here though. We have big ambitions for 2014 and beyond.”
Jongla says the numbers speak for better themselves though: according to Jongla, its user base growth has doubled in just four months (161% to be more exact) and the company’s international expansion has taken significant steps through two major deals which were signed with a major Indonesian telecommunication provider (not yet disclosed) as well as Norwegian telcom corporation Telenor, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Jongla’s expansion and user engagement strategies all stem from the 2013 investment in which the company was backed with €1.4 million by Ingman Finance Ab and a group of angels. Ever since, Salminen has been spearheading Jongla’s expansion abroad through new partnerships with a focus on Asia and Scandinavia, but which are certainly not limited to those areas.
“What we’re doing is thinking outside the box, coming up with new ways to grow our user base and looking to forge partnerships that can help take Jongla into new territories. The operator deals in particular are a significant move for us.” says Salminen.
Whatsapp’s acquisition by facebook for a whopping $19 billion is still fresh in our minds, but even more it lingers in the minds of Jongla’s execs; though Salminen acknowledges Jongla has no way to currently compete with Whatsapp’s over 500 millions users, he feels the facebook acquisition has brought new expectations in the instant messaging space. When asked whether the purchase offers opportunities for other players to capitalise, Salminen says:
“We at Jongla are focusing on winning the second round in the instant messaging war. The mission for Jongla is to make messaging available for the next billion of people connecting to Internet for the first time. Our approach is all about keeping it simple. Our app will remain light, easy-to-use and open to everyone. Like I always say to our team, the future of the Internet is on mobile and the future of mobile is in instant messaging. We’ll keep driving the company forwards.”
According to a market research by Juniper, the instant messaging apps are expected to bring in $70 billion and overtake the traditional SMS market by 2016.
Jongla is available to download for free from the App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone and Firefox.