NEWS16 July 2013

Publicis invests in Jana Mobile

Europe Financials

FRANCE — Publicis Groupe is to invest $15m in emerging markets start-up company Jana Mobile.

The company said the strategic investment was the first direct investment Publicis had made in a mobile technology start-up.

Jana, which was founded as TxtEagle in 2009, recruits people to perform ‘microtasks’ by sending information by text message; incentivising them to participate by using free mobile airtime as a reward. As well as carrying out consumer surveys and advertising audits, the approach has been used to monitor hospital blood supplies and to populate GPS systems.

As part of the $15m investment, Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Maurice Levy will join Jana’s board of directors. Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategy and innovation officer of Publicis’ digital accelerator VivaKi, will join Jana’s board of advisors.

“I have been personally attracted and convinced to invest directly in this platform as I see it as the next big thing in the communication industry. Consumers in these dynamic markets are spending 10% of their daily income on mobile airtime, while global advertisers are spending more than $150bn to reach them through traditional advertising channels,” said Levy.