It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Blyk, the unique Helsinki-based MVNO-turned-SMS-marketing-provider that we’ve covered quite a bit in the last year. It was announced today that the startup has secured a fourth round of funding in the amount of $21.9M to help foster additional carrier-partnerships.
Blyk originally operated under the business model of providing free voice and SMS service to consumers in exchange for serving highly relevant SMS and MMS-based advertisements. After that plan didn’t work out as they’d hoped, they turned their attention to creating specialized apps that other carriers could utilize that would offer the same ad-funded concept as a separate option, in addition to normal cell and text service. The plans seems to be paying off, as the nearly $22M round will go towards “accelerating” carrier partnerships around the world.
Nexit Ventures, the VC that’s leading the investment through a consortium, says Blyk has “proven” this ad model and has proven to achieve a 25% response rate over the long-term — effectively generating a ratio of one ad response for every four messages sent. If this is true, and sustainable, than Blyk is definitely on to something. “We looked at literally dozens of potential investments in this space and found that Blyk was clearly the best positioned company and an attractive investment,” said Nexit partner Artturi Tarjanne.