Fortumo is an Estonian mobile service startup. The company advertises you can start earning revenue with SMS services in just 5 minutes, without any technical skills. They offer a simple way of creating different mobile services without startup or monthly fees.

The basic service version allows for different models like selling information via SMS, creating SMS-based text-to-win campaigns, or SMS-based chat boxes or advertisement columns to web pages. You can set the end user price and SMS keyword for your service yourself. In case you know your stuff and have a place to host your service, with a little coding you hook up to their APIs, create practically any kind of service you want, and get better revenue share. One of Fortumo’s client is MTV Estonia, who uses SMS services in the programs and webpage e.g. to choose songs or win tickets in competitions.

Fortumo also has a couple of trial services: other enables pay-per-view video business for your YouTube videos, and the other one allows you to set up SMS chat board on your Facebook profile. While the services might not make too much commercial sense, they do give a good example of what kind of options you have with Fortumo.

Fortumo takes commission of the revenues earned by all the services created using their service. Fortumo takes 2-3% of the end-user price depending on country, type of service and volume. (I have to love the way they frame it, though, as after tax and operator share that would be more like between 6-10% of the net revenue.) In essence, the customer payout rates range from 30-60% of the end user price price after the tax, depending on the country and service type.

Fortumo currently supports billing in the Nordic countries and Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and, interestingly, China (China Mobile and China Unicom). They mention in their blog two new countries in the Balkan Peninsula will be added soon, while continuing expanding in Europe, Asia and to North America. The biggest challenge for Fortumo most likely is that the mobile billing channels are notoriously hard and slow to establish (if trying to go direct).