Google has invested an undisclosed amount in KaiOS Technologies, a Hong Kong company whose mobile operating system brings smartphone-like features to cheap feature phones.
KaiOS Technologies raised $50mn in the funding round led by Cathay Innovations, with firms such as Google and TCL Holdings taking part.
Last year, Google led a $22mn funding round for the company.
“Our mission is to open up new possibilities for individuals, organizations, and society by bringing mobile connectivity to the billions of people without internet in emerging markets, as well as providing those in established markets with an alternative to smartphones,” explained Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies.
“We achieve this by collaborating closely with our business partners, enabling them to transform their business models with exciting new products and offerings, especially for first-time internet users.
“This Series B round allows us to accelerate these efforts and increase the impact we can make in societies around the world, one phone at a time.”
The firm says that the investment will help it expand into new markets, promote research and development, and grow the company’s developer pool.
Commenting on the funding round, Denis Barrier, Co-Founder and CEO of Cathay Innovation, outlined how KaiOS is already the third mobile OS globally.
“It has the potential to transform the lives of billions of people by giving them access to the internet for the first time,” he added.
“We are proud to join KaiOS’ fantastic investor base and to lead this round to support the company’s next phase of rapid expansion.”
KaiOS says that its operating systems now runs on more than 100mn devices across 100 countries.