Finnfund invests 3.4 million US dollars in KaiOS Technologies, the makers of the leading mobile operating system for smart feature phones, KaiOS. Despite living in areas with mobile broadband coverage, it is estimated that 3.4 billion people in emerging markets do not use the internet.
The cost of a smartphone, which is frequently more than 20% of monthly income, is one of the most significant barriers to mobile internet adoption. KaiOS provides mobile connectivity to millions of people in emerging markets by enabling manufacturers and operators to make KaiOS-powered phones affordable.
“With this investment, KaiOS can enter new Sub-Saharan African markets,” says Sebastien Codeville, CEO and co-Founder of KaiOS Technologies. “We are delighted to collaborate with an investor like Finnfund, who shares our belief in the importance of accelerating digitalisation in Africa.”
“The investment in KaiOS is yet another important step in connecting the unconnected,” says Kuutti Kilpeläinen, Investment Manager at Finnfund. “KaiOS has demonstrated its ability to solve the affordability problem, and we are proud to join the group of investors who all share the same ambitious goal of closing the digital divide.”
Finnfund’s investment in KaiOS qualifies as a 2X Challenge eligible gender investment because it helps women bridge the digital divide that still exists in low- and middle-income countries. KaiOS not only introduces a more affordable device to the market, but it also hosts applications and content aimed specifically at women and girls. These include issues such as sexual and reproductive health.
Increasing digitalization is central to Finnfund’s strategy. Increased digital connectivity promotes economic growth by facilitating inclusive access to critical services in finance, education, and health, as well as connecting small businesses to global value chains.