Today I’m excited to announce Samsung NEXT’s investment in Juvo, a San Francisco-based company determined to bring financial inclusion to mobile phone users around the world.
Juvo’s mission is to establish identity and credit scores for the billions of people worldwide who are creditworthy, yet financially excluded. The company offers micro-financing to mobile users who want to top off their minutes without having to go to a local retailer when it is not convenient or safe.
By collecting and analyzing subscriber and usage data in real time, Juvo generates identity scores for customers that can then be used to unlock access to credit and basic financial services for unbanked or underserved users.
I was first introduced to Juvo while looking for companies that were focused on device financing. Initially, none of them seemed exciting enough or felt like they could become a big, successful business.
When I first began looking at Juvo, however, I was impressed by its combination of an experienced team, unique approach to tackling a huge market, and impressive execution in the early stages of their growth.
Juvo’s team includes deep industry experience in mobile telecom, consumer internet, data science, and financial services. CEO Steve Polsky has had multiple successful exits, including Flixster/Rotten Tomatoes, Amber Networks, VoicePlex Corporation, and Edusoft.
The company is tackling a major pain point for users. And it’s going after an incredibly large market opportunity: 75 percent of mobile subscribers worldwide are prepaid, and the vast majority of this population is unbanked.
Through partnerships with carriers in those markets, Juvo is able to reach hundreds of millions of users with an incredibly low customer acquisition cost.
Carriers like working with Juvo because it helps them build a relationship with customers who previously only used prepaid services. It also keeps users connected and engaged, which leads to increases usage and average revenue per user.
Juvo’s impressive traction from mobile operators and consumers offers an opportunity for us to tap into the next billion customers through more comprehensive financial inclusion and accessibility.
We are also excited about working with Juvo to help it enable global mobile operators to significantly accelerate migration to smartphones amongst prepaid mobile subscribers.