Nathan Eagle is well known for his big data work in the Kibera slum in Kenya and elsewhere. Now it looks like he has monetized his knowledge to the tune of USD 15 million.
On Monday, the Publicis Groupe, one of the world’s largest advertising holding companies, will announce a $15 million investment in Jana.
The investment is the first by the company in a mobile technology start-up. As part of the investment, Maurice Lévy, the chief executive of Publicis, which is based in Paris, will join the board of directors at Jana.
“Everyone is fighting very hard and trying to find solutions to get these next billion consumers, and we all know the next billion consumers will come from emerging markets,” Mr. Lévy said in an interview by phone. With brands including Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Google having used Jana, gaining access to consumers in Africa and other emerging markets like India and Brazil is “not something which is just wishful thinking,” he said.
Nathan Eagle, the chief executive and a co-founder of Jana, said the majority of its clients were large global brands seeking to reach consumers in developing countries. Brands can reward consumers who register for Jana, which is based in Boston, with free mobile airtime after they view an ad or buy a product.
“We’re building up this massive profile of people who are eager to engage with different brands,” Mr. Eagle said. “Now we are presenting our clients with an alternative to billboards.”