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Jacob-Hauskens-FortumoWith the Meffys 2014 open for entries, we are taking a look at some of last year’s winners to find out what winning a Meffy meant to them and what they’ve been up to since they celebrated their success in the international mobile content & commerce awards.

This week, we check in with Innovation for Business Model Award winner Fortumo and Jacob Hauskens, VP of Sales & Business Development.

What did Fortumo win a Meffy for?

Fortumo won the Meffy last year for our innovative business model Android app distribution. We’re helping app developers with billing and publishing in dozens of alternative marketplaces that are becoming increasingly relevant: every third Android phone sold at the end of last year had some other app store beside Google Play installed into it.

Why do you think the judges picked your entry?

Most likely for two reasons. First, while there are many payment and app distribution companies out there, Fortumo is the only one that provides an end-to-end solution: global payment coverage in 80 countries and established relationships with a large number of app stores.

Second, the growth potential is huge for the third party Android ecosystem. In 2014, the biggest growth in smartphone ownership will come from emerging markets where a lot of local stores such as Yandex.Store and SlideME have already gained traction. Many Chinese & Indian device manufacturers are also focusing on these regions and often prefer to build their own app stores instead of Google Play.

With more people in emerging markets becoming smartphone owners, we are helping developers solve the distribution challenge they’re now facing.

What has your company been up to since winning the Meffy last year?

We already have technology to process payments on all of the bigger mobile platforms so over the past 6 months, we’ve mostly focused on expanding our payment coverage. We’ve launched carrier billing in roughly ten new markets, including India, the Philippines and Indonesia. Fortumo is going after markets with very low credit card penetration but a quickly growing amount of smartphone owners.

Another big focus for us in 2014 has been Windows Phone: Microsoft’s payment ecosystem is open and Windows Phones are already more popular than iPhones in a number of key markets. In order to help more developers get started with carrier billing on the platform, we set up a $1M developer fund so game and app companies can try out the growing platform risk-free.

[youtube:]|What are your plans for the year ahead?

We have three key focus areas this year. Fortumo is helping developers take advantage of our existing relationships with mobile operators and device manufacturers. In addition to processing payments, we’re helping customers get promotions in app stores, organizing smartphone app preloads, helping them get their apps published in China etc.

We already have the biggest carrier billing reach globally in 80 markets, there are still several key regions – such as Africa and the Middle East – where we can improve our coverage. So it’s also in our focus to expand in these regions and be the first to help developers earn revenue in previously hard to reach countries.

Finally, our goal is to take carrier billing beyond virtual content where it has been mostly used so far. Fortumo is already working with some of the largest digital content providers in emerging markets like India and we aim to get more of them on board; we are also looking into pilot projects of selling physical goods through carrier billing.

Apart from your own, which mobile companies are the ones to watch?

There are lots of great companies doing interesting stuff but to name a few – App Annie for providing the most comprehensive overview of the app economy to developers and others involved in the industry; Venmo and TransferWise for changing the way peer-to-peer money transfers work.

meffys_entries_open_600There are 16 categories to enter in 2014. Judged by expert panels of international journalists, analysts, academics and VCs, the Meffys provide companies and innovators with an unrivalled opportunity to be considered for the global mobile industry’s top accolades with winners announced at MEF Global Forum 2014 in San Francisco 17th – 19th November. 2014 entries are open now