New Jersey-based Kirusa, a developer of Voice SMS based Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) for emerging markets, has acquired Saya, a Ghana-based developer of mobile messaging apps for feature phones.
Often described as the ‘WhatsApp for feature phones’,Saya is a mobile messaging app that caters to high-growth mobile markets worldwide, bringing cheap mobile messaging to people who do not have Smartphones in emerging economies.
Saya is particularly popular in West Africa for its real-time ‘Street Chat’ messaging application and its platform includes social network integration, location-based and group chat across multiple phone platforms such as J2ME, Android and iOS. It is used by feature phone users in over 35 countries worldwide, but its biggest user base is located in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya.
Saya was founded in August 2011 by Ghanaian entrepreneurs Robert Lamptey and Badu Boahen, both graduates of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Accra, where the company was incubated.
MEST, which was founded by Norwegian-born Software entrepreneur Jorn Lyseggen, provides training, investment and mentoring for aspiring technology entrepreneurs in Africa. Saya’s investors include the Meltwater Foundation, Forward Partners and Progress Through Business.
“In launching Saya, we wanted to create a world class product, but one that was built by Africans, for Africans in mind,” Robert Lamptey, CEO of Saya, said in a press release.
“Joining forces with Kirusa is an exciting next step for our team. We remain focused on our goal of placing this technology into the hands of millions of mobile subscribers and especially empowering Africans to connect with each other and disseminate important information across the continent.”
While the financial terms of the deals were not disclosed, Kirusa has acquired the technology, intellectual property, and workforce of Saya, which will now be working on Kirusa’s mobile applications.