Mig33, a mobile based social networking service, which had topped Bharti Airtel’s App Store charts earlier this year, has raised $8.9 million in Series C funding from two strategic investors – one Indonesian (Sugiono Wiyono), and another Japanese (GREE). Speaking with MediaNama, Mig33 CEO Steven Goh said that the company is close to break-even now, and will use the money to invest in application development for platforms like Mediatek, as well as Android, which he views as a very important for emerging markets. The company is also looking at escalating operations in South East Asia and South Asia, looking at local language types, local content and increasing local relevance; for expanding its user base, in order to secure its position, Goh said that Mig33 will also spend on advertising in these markets. He was evasive on specific plans for investment in the India market. According to Goh, 40% of Mig33’s active user base is in South Asia, and 45% in South East Asia, and “we’ll allocate resources to match the footprint.”
Indonesia is Mig33’s largest market, and in that context, they’ve taken investment from Sugiono Wiyono, who is the President Director and CEO of telecom retail distribution company PT Trikomsel Oke Tbk. Trikomsel also has a subsidiary which retails cell phones in Singapore.
Additionally, Mig33 has raised money from GREE, believed to be the largest social networking site in Japan, which has a focus on gaming. Mig33 is based on Gree’s model, and recently rolled out its Game Developer Program, wherein it brought on board three partners for mobile games – South Africa based Blue Leaf Games, Singapore based social games co TheMobileGamer (TMG), and Kooky Panda Ltd., a Beijing-based developer of more than 300 socially connected Flash Lite games, and publisher of Kooky Pets, in which players create and care for their own pets and “pet homes,” and visit with other pets and pet owners.
Essentially, Mig33 is looking to be the mobile social networking app for South East Asia, South Asia and South Africa. Goh said that the company has no plans for expanding the service to a mature market like Japan (hence won’t take on GREE). Goh said that Mig33’s registered and active user base has grown by 50% in a year, and the daily activity has more than doubled in the last year.
Existing Mig33 investors – Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures and DCM also participated in this round of investment, taking the total investment in the company to $34 million since launch. How many Indian startups can really claim that amount of funding?