The Estonian mobile payments provider, Fortumo, just announced a partnership with the Ukrainian mobile operator - Kyivstar. The partnership would allow Fortumo to tap into 25 million Kyivstar customers to make payments inside of Kyivstar’s App Club store without using a credit card.
The first game to be published that will be able to use the Fortumo mobile payments is Cut The Rope by Zeptolab with games from Rovio, EA, Halfbrick, Creative Mobile and Lima Sky to follow.
Sitting at $57 million USD in 2013, the Ukrainian digital gaming market is but a drop in the ocean when comparing to the recent Supercell sale. However when you come back to earth, it is still an attractive piece of the pie to target.
Apps for Barnes & Noble's e-book reader, the Nook, is not a market you hear a lot about, but perhaps that's because the money chain isn't propery in place. But that could be changing after Tartu, Estonia-based mobile payments provider Fortumo partnered with B&N for Nook in-app payments support.
In-app payments have been critical part of nearly every other device's ecosystem, which makes me curious why it hasn't been done of the Nook before. The massive free-to-play game ecosystem basically depends on it, making this a nice addition. The Nook is a small market, but Fortumo tell us it's an important market segment because NOOK Apps developers are reporting 3 to 4 times the app sales than with other stores.
We have been watching Fortumo grow from a tiny startup to become a global player present in 73 countries. Last month they announced an investment in the amount close to $10 million from Intel Capital and Greycroft Partners.
The basic premise is a mobile payments solution that works directly through operator billing. This allows app and game developers to monetize pretty much instantly. Oh and unlike most of the competitors, they focus specifically on emerging markets where the mobile phone growth is promising to be the biggest.
Estonia based Fortumo is known for offering in-app payments to Android developers in 70 countries. Towards the end of July, they added subscription payments to their offering. Now app developers can begin to charge subscription payments instead of asking for one off payments.
The company has already started rolling out the service with a number of games and dating sites. "Subscription payments deepen customer loyalty and have shown to increase developer revenue by at least 30%" says Rain Rannu, co-founder of Fortumo. "Recurring mobile operator billing has a potential to become a significant revenue driver for digital content merchants over the next few years."
On Monday Fortumo, the company probably best known for its in-app purchasing provider for Android developers, released an API for cross platform HTML5-supported mobile payments. This will allow app and game developers to easily integrate in-app payments for any mobile HTML5 based application. The service allows billing to customers' phone bills, which can open up a whole range of new customers who don't have credit cards.
Fortumo seems to expand day in and day out. It was only last week when we shared news on Fortumo all set to integrate Bad Piggy Bank with Angry Birds to help Angry bird users make purchases or pay for updates via their mobile carriers. Earlier this week it had more news to share and this time it was Fortumo’s partnership with BilltoMobile.
Back in December we shared an interview with Martin Koppel, CEO of Fortumo regarding the deal with Rovio. Fortumo is a mobile payment company operating across 30 countries helping online games, developers with monetizing their applications or games with its easy to use and instant mobile payment service. The news today however is that of Bad Piggy Bank is now ready for integration.
Despite creating more clutter with yet another trend post for this year, I think it's worth looking back at some of the most read stories and biggest trends we've covered this year on ArcticStartup. Some of the most read stories are around Rovio, Nokia and Valkee. The most read stories this year were 7 Ways Nokia Can Win Again as well as Oh, Noes! Not Another Ex-Insiders Thoughts On Nokia! (Part I). Both of the stories received a lot of traffic from Finnish national press and thus were clearly the most visited stories in terms of page view.
I interviewed Martin Koppel, the CEO of Fortumo, about the recent deal they did with Rovio. As the story of Fortumo might be somwhat unknown, we also discussed the backgrounds of how Fortumo got started, who invested into them and where they are now. Fortumo is a mobile payments company that has had a very different approach and positioning into the issue of mobile payments. Where as the Western markets are filled with competitors, Fortumo targeted more emerging markets where smartphone usage is soaring and app developers want to monetize their creations.
Rovio, the makers of the Angry Bird game, have just announced Bad Piggy Bank - among a ton of other interesting things. Let's get to it then. Bad Piggy Bank is a new solution to one-touch in app mobile purchasing. Furthermore, the PC Version of the Angry Birds will be showcased at a press event beginning 4pm EET (we will update this post with info later). Finally, Rovio has updated the figures on their game downloads - Angry Birds has been downloaded now more than 50 million times.
Fortumo, the Estonian wonder startup continues its amazing growth. They have now opened up business in their 48th country, Thailand according to a recent blog post. Thailand is one of the large markets in South-East Asia with its 66 million mobile users. Interestingly enough, only 2% of the population is subscribed to broadband connections and while 12 million of the 66 million mobile users are also mobile internet users. Going head on with a growing, but still very immature market cna be flourishing for Fortumo. As internet usage grows, so does the requirement to monetise it - this is where Fortumo comes in. Furthermore, the huge mobile market presents numerous opportunities for Fortumo and its clients.
Fortumo, the Estonian wonderchild in mobile payments, is expanding rapidly. They have recently signed deals to open their services in 10 new countries. The addition of new countries in Latin America, Middle East and Central & Eastern Europe is further solidifying our emerging-market expertise" explains Rain Rannu, co-founder of Fortumo.
The Estonian based mobile payment provider, Fortumo, has launched, apparently first in the market, an instant-activation in-app payments service for Android devices. The difference in this for the developer, compared to other providers, is that Fortumo is able to activate the payment services to about 40 countries instead of integrating a different payment method for each country.
Fortumo is an Estonian startup (see our previous coverage) focusing on making it possible for everybody from individuals to home-based businesses to global web entrepreneurs to easily and cheaply collect payments from their customers using mobile payments. The company emphasizes that it should be as easy, quick, and cost-effective to start using mobile payments on your site or in your app as creating a blog or a homepage.
Fortumo has now released a new service called FortuMoPay, designed for selling credits (to be used e.g. on virtual goods) in online games, web applications, and social networks.
ArcticEvening Tallinn sold out yesterday, but we decided to add another 50 tickets to the event. The evening will be a very interesting one with 3 entrepreneurs in different stages of their company explaining about the importance of marketing and how it is made successful for the company. You can read more about the event in our previous blog post, but just to sum it up we'll have Martin Koppel from Fortumo, Petteri Koponen (former Jaiku Co-Founder) from Lifeline Ventures and Kai Lemmetty from Floobs.
Early next month we will go to Tallinn, Estonia to hold our end-of-the-year ArcticEvening in co-operation with OpenCoffee Club Tallinn and Connect Estonia. The event will take place on 3. December and focus on startup marketing. We will hold a panel under the 'What is marketing for startups and how to do it effectively'
Yet again, we have a solid lineup coming: An experienced serial entrepreneur that have a several exits under his belt and two young guns who are on their way to their fist big hits. See our list of panelist below and figure out who's who.
The ticket sales are open and the price is the only right one, the tickets are free. Go get yours while they last! We will announce the venue in due course once we get them confirmed.
If you haven’t been to ArcticEvenings before, we suggest you take a look at videos from previous events.
Fortumo, an Estonia portal that offers free access for website-owners and small businesses to monetize their user base through Premium SMS messages, announced that they are expanding internationally the way rest of us only tell our investors we do with little hope of actually doing it.
Fortumo announced that they are expanding into 9 major markets in Western Europe, namely UK, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland. That's right, 9 at once and we're talking about a startup which needs to deal with notarious Telcos to do this. This means today Fortumo is providing its service in 26 different countries.
- Fortumo - MobileMonday Estonia
- Portal for setting up free and extremely fast web-based mobile services and monetizing them, offering billing in 11 countries and expanding.
- Getjar Networks - MobileMonday Lithuania
- One of the world’s most popular mobile application distribution and developer communities with over 14 million downloads per month.
- Mobintech - MobileMonday Copenhagen
- Offers small digital display glasses, through which the small screen of mobile phones will be transformed into an experience similar to viewing a 30” flat screen TV.
- PopCatcher - MobileMonday Sweden
- Provides technology and products for stripping out talk and commercials from recorded radio music into plain music MP3's.
The firms will be presenting their final pitch in Barcelona on February 16th.
(See the full list of the 20 selected companies on Mobile Peer Awards web page.)
Congrats all four!
MobileMonday Peer Awards 2009 mobile innovation contest semifinalists have been chosen. From the Nordic and Baltic area, the following firms were selected by their MoMo chapters.
- Fortumo - MobileMonday Estonia
- Getjar Networks - MobileMonday Lithuania
- Mobintech A/S - MobileMonday Copenhagen
- Wapalta - MobileMonday St. Petersburg
One might ask, however, where are the Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian participants?! There were some interesting startups applying in of those chapters as well, but none are on the semifinalist list (at least on Monday evening) - the chapters didn't select anyone? Either way, it is good to see the newly-launched Estonian MoMo chapter sent their nominee this year (last year the Helsinki chapter chose Estonian Fromdistance).
Nevertheless, as explained before, there will next be a further selection round by an international virtual jury to select the 20 finalists to the February 16th Barcelona MobileMonday event. Anybody from our readers in the jury?
Fortumo (coverage) enables quick and free creation and monetization of web-based mobile services maintenance, while Kuneri (coverage) provides a variety of Flash Lite tools and services, latest release being Pikkoo.
Congrats to the winners!
[Registeration to the conference]
Fortumo is an Estonian mobile service startup. The company advertises you can start earning revenue with SMS services in just 5 minutes, without any technical skills. They offer a simple way of creating different mobile services without startup or monthly fees.
The basic service version allows for different models like selling information via SMS, creating SMS-based text-to-win campaigns, or SMS-based chat boxes or advertisement columns to web pages. You can set the end user price and SMS keyword for your service yourself. In case you know your stuff and have a place to host your service, with a little coding you hook up to their APIs, create practically any kind of service you want, and get better revenue share. One of Fortumo's client is MTV Estonia, who uses SMS services in the programs and webpage e.g. to choose songs or win tickets in competitions.
Fortumo also has a couple of trial services: other enables pay-per-view video business for your YouTube videos, and the other one allows you to set up SMS chat board on your Facebook profile. While the services might not make too much commercial sense, they do give a good example of what kind of options you have with Fortumo.
Fortumo takes commission of the revenues earned by all the services created using their service. Fortumo takes 2-3% of the end-user price depending on country, type of service and volume. (I have to love the way they frame it, though, as after tax and operator share that would be more like between 6-10% of the net revenue.) In essence, the customer payout rates range from 30-60% of the end user price price after the tax, depending on the country and service type.
Fortumo currently supports billing in the Nordic countries and Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and, interestingly, China (China Mobile and China Unicom). They mention in their blog two new countries in the Balkan Peninsula will be added soon, while continuing expanding in Europe, Asia and to North America. The biggest challenge for Fortumo most likely is that the mobile billing channels are notoriously hard and slow to establish (if trying to go direct).