Oh boy, another sticker-happy social messaging app raises money. This time it’s the turn of Finland’s Jongla. The youth-oriented messaging app for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and HTML5, has raised a further €1.4 million in funding from Oy Ingman Finance, and a group of private angel investors.
This latest round takes the overall investment in the Finnish messaging startup to a cool €3.9 million (circa $5.2m).
The company, which competes with a plethora of social messaging apps including WhatsApp, Viber, Yuilop, Facebook Messenger/Poke, Line, and Snapchat, has its legacy in apps for feature phones, but at the beginning of this year re-booted with the launch of its youth-oriented and free social messaging app targeting modern smartphone platforms. It hoped to cut through a noisy marketplace with its emphasis on “personalisation” — specifically with the ability to send animated virtual stickers, a fun and beefed up form of emoticons that doesn’t seem like such a differentiator nearly 11 months on.
Like other mobile social messaging apps, Jongla is designed to circumvent the need to use SMS text messaging by piggybacking a user’s data connection to offer an Instant Messenger-like experience. Along with a colourful and cartoony design and those animated stickers, the app offers features such as syncing with the phone’s address book, the ability to send images directly from the phone’s camera roll to any contact, location sharing, and real-time feed back when a recipient is typing.
So, what’s a social messaging app to do with fresh funding? Jongla says today’s investment will be used to develop its products and “roll out its growth strategy”, including international expansion. Asia and Europe are, rather broadly, pegged as key targets for growth due to what the startup says is rising popularity of instant messaging apps, especially amongst young people.
In a statement, Riku Salminen, CEO of Jongla, says: “The latest round of funding will allow us to continue to build and improve our service. The aim for the company now is focus on the regions where the app has experience good traction and look to grow that further. Exciting times lay ahead for the company.”
Exciting times, maybe, but no word on number of downloads or monthly active users. All the company will say is that Thailand, India, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, and Singapore are “experiencing impressive growth”. The app generates revenue via in-app purchases of additional virtual stickers and other “personalisation”.