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Instant messenger 2go is targeting smartphones, hedging its bets, hiring

Ventureburn recently reported on 2go, the instant messaging startup that was seeing significant traction in Nigeria. The company attributed much of its success — 10 million active users compared to an estimated five million on Facebook — to its feature phone focus. It might be surprising then, to learn that the company will be expanding to smartphones. With that, 2go is also growing its team of software developers and support staff.

The instant messaging service is currently pushing 6 billion messages a month, mostly on lower-end feature phones in Nigeria and South Africa. “Feature phones have been an incredibly successful platform for us and will continue to be so for the next few years at least,” says Alan Wolff, who founded 2go with fellow student Ashley Peter while still at university.

Wolff points to research by market researchers Informa that show feature phones will still make up a significant portion of the mobile market in 2015. As contrasting opinion indicate the near future in Africa will be paved with smartphones, it’s good to see 2go hedging its bets. “Now is the right time to start extending to iOS, Blackberry and Android platforms as well,” says Wolff.

In Africa where users face high data costs and scarce bandwidth, 2go attributes the majority of its success to paying heed to user needs and ensuring a “rock-solid technical foundation.”

“With our recent rapid user growth and the emergence of newer platforms such as Android and iOS, there’s now a need to aggressively grow the team,” he adds. “We are actively recruiting new developers who have an appetite for the technical challenges we’re taking on.”

“Having abundant resources can make people lazy. We didn’t have money at the beginning, so we had to squeeze every last bit of performance out of our hardware. That’s why we still own, control and manage all of our servers, which now total more than 50. We’re working very close to the hardware layer,” adds Wolff.

The company is currently on the lookout for world class developers with expertise in Java, Blackberry and Android.

2go’s biggest direct competitor, Mxit is available on BlackBerry, Android, iOS and Windows Phone, but has come under fire for their sketchy implementations.

Author Bio

Martin Carstens: Senior reporter
Martin is obsessed with technology and the future. His work life includes positions at UK based Hotcourses.com, Discovery Invest and currently, Memeburn. More

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