November 23, 2022
Finnfund’s 3.4 million US dollar investment in KaiOS helps bring affordable mobile connections to Sub-Saharan Africa
Finnfund invests 3.4 million US dollars in KaiOS Technologies, maker of KaiOS, the leading mobile operating system for smart feature phones. It has been estimated that 3.4 billion people in emerging markets do no use internet despite living in areas with mobile broadband coverage. One of the greatest barriers to mobile internet adoption is the cost of a smartphone, often being more than 20% of monthly income. KaiOS brings mobile connectivity to millions of people in emerging markets by providing an operating system that allows manufacturers and operators to make KaiOS powered phones affordable.
“With this investment, KaiOS can expand into new markets in Sub-Saharan Africa”, says Sebastien Codeville, CEO and co-Founder of KaiOS Technologies. “We are happy to partner with an investor like Finnfund who share our vision of how important it is to boost digitalisation in Africa.”
“The investment in KaiOS is yet another important step in connecting the unconnected”, says Finnfund’s Investment Manager Kuutti Kilpeläinen. “KaiOS has proved that it can 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 gap.”
Finnfund’s investment in KaiOS is classified as a 2X Challenge eligible gender investment as it supports women to close the digital divide that still exists across lower-middle income countries. KaiOS not only brings a more affordable device to the market but they also host applications and content specifically targeting women and girls. These are related to for example sexual and reproductive health.
Boosting digitalisation is at the core of Finnfund’s strategy. An increase in digital connectivity supports economic growth and facilitates inclusive access to critical services in finance, education and health, and provides possibilities for small businesses to connect with global value chains.
Kuutti Kilpeläinen, Investment Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 44 013 1291
Valpuri Mäkinen, Communications and Marketing Manager, email@example.com, tel. +358503842105
About KaiOS Technologies
KaiOS Technologies powers an ecosystem of affordable digital products and services and exists to empower people around the world through technology. Kai’s 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. In order to achieve the mission, we created an operating system — KaiOS. A flagship product that leads mobile operating system with more than 170 million devices shipped in over 100 countries. KaiOS is based on HTML5 and other open web technologies. Devices running on the platform require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience through access to apps like WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps, and Wikipedia.
Finnfund is a Finnish development financier and impact investor. We build a sustainable future and generate lasting impact by investing in businesses that solve global development challenges. We invest 200–250 million euros in 20–30 companies in developing countries each year. Our focus sectors include renewable energy, sustainable forestry, sustainable agriculture, financial institutions, and digital infrastructure and solutions. Today Finnfund’s investments, commitments, and investment decisions total about 1.12 billion euros, half of them in Africa. The company has 100 employees.
About 2X Challenge
2X Challenge is an international gender lens investing initiative that aims to collectively mobilize USD 15 billion in commitments that provide women in developing countries with improved access to leadership opportunities, quality employment, finance, enterprise support, and products and services that enhance economic participation and access. Finnfund joined 2X Challenge in 2019.