When we talk about the “big” startups from Northern Europe I think we still forget to bring up Lithuania-based Eskimi. A big part of that reason is that most of us never found a reason to use it – a social network built primarily for feature phones isn’t really needed when we’re checking out Facebook on our iPhones with our fast data rates. But the social network is killing it in Africa and just hit 10 million members, of which half is from Nigeria alone.
The social network has been recognized as the second most visited website on mobile phones in Nigeria according to Opera Mini, Africa’s most popular browser. The average Eskimi customer spends 6.5 hours online per month, and they’re using those eyeballs to innovate with mobile marketing. Eskimi offers branding, sales promotion, performance, and crowdsourcing campaigns. “Most reputable brands in Nigeria and Kenya started using Eskimi as their platform in 2012 and will continue to do so in 2013,” said Vytas Paukstys in their newsletter.
Eskimi points out that internet in Africa means mobile, where mobile is used by 80% of all internet users, and mobile is 5 times bigger than the traditional internet.
When talking to Paukstys in the past, he seemed hesitant to pin the social network down geographically, mentioning their desire to grow in the Philippines and other areas where mobile internet and feature phones go hand in hand. But the recent writing coming out of the company seems to focus solely on Africa, which is likely a good strategy given the growth they’ve already accomplished.