Backed With New Funding Round, KaiOS To Further Push Into Emerging Markets

By Dan Anderson ● May 29, 2019
  • KaiOS recently raised $50 million in Series B funding
  • This round of funding was led by Cathay Innovation with participation from Google and TCL
  • With this round of funding, KaiOS is going to invest in product portfolio research and development.

Hong Kong-based mobile operating system company KaiOS Technologies recently raised $50 million in Series B funding, which will enable the company to further push into emerging markets. KaiOS was designed for smart feature phones and more than 100 million devices running on the mobile operating system have been shipped across 100 countries to date.

This funding round was led by Cathay Innovation. And there was continued participation from existing shareholders Google and TCL Holdings. And this investment will further Kai’s leadership position in the rapidly growing smart feature phone industry.

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Using this round of funding, Kai is planning to expand into new markets and the company is going to invest in product portfolio research and development. Plus it will also enable Kai to mature its ecosystem by accelerating the growth of the KaiOS developer community.

“Our mission is to open up new possibilities for individuals, organizations, and society by bringing mobile connectivity to the billions of people without internet in emerging markets, as well as providing those in established markets with an alternative to smartphones,” said KaiOS CEO Sebastien Codeville in a statement about the funding. “We achieve this by collaborating closely with our business partners, enabling them to transform their business models with exciting new products and offerings, especially for first-time internet users. This Series B round allows us to accelerate these efforts and increase the impact we can make in societies around the world, one phone at a time.”

Last year, Kai experienced strong growth as it built a presence in new markets like India and Africa through critical partnerships with companies such as Reliance Jio, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Orange, MTN, Qualcomm, and several others.

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The smart feature phone industry accounted for nearly a quarter of all handset shipments by Q3 last year, according to a recent study by Counterpoint. This presents a $28 billion market opportunity in the next 3 years. And Kai is aiming to transition a substantial portion of the more than 1.5 billion feature phone users to smart feature phones — which would enable carriers, manufacturers, developers, and advertisers to build innovative and new business models.

“KaiOS is already the third mobile OS globally and one of the most impactful tech startups in the world. It has the potential to transform the lives of billions of people by giving them access to the internet for the first time,” added Cathay Innovation co-founder and CEO Denis Barrier. “We are proud to join KaiOS’ fantastic investor base and to lead this round to support the company’s next phase of rapid expansion. We look forward to leveraging our global platform and ecosystem to help accelerate KaiOS’ growth in new markets.”

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KaiOS features an optimized user interface for non-touch phones. And it offers 3G/4G/LTE and Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC support. Plus it works with chipsets from all major manufacturers including Qualcomm, UNISOC, and MediaTek. It’s worth mentioning that KaiOS also offers a smooth user experience on devices that have as low as 256MB of RAM. KaiOS has been built with HTML5 and ohter open web technologies.

And with the KaiOS Developer Portal, app developers can build content for KaiOS and publish it through the KaiStore. With KaiAds, content owners can monetize their apps and services on KaiOS.