BARCELONA, Spain—Juvo’s plan to give prepaid service providers more insight to their customers and help those users build credit all starts with the phone. But it doesn’t end with the phone.
The California-based company, which just came out of stealth mode last fall, uses its Android and iOS apps to enable prepaid users to develop an “identity score"—a metric that includes traditional credit measurements but multiple other factors as well—in part by tracking user behavior. Customers can improve their scores by interacting with the app and sharing information, and service providers can use scorers to extend financial services or loans for data or other mobile offerings.
The company recently struck a deal with Cable & Wireless Corp., but Juvo’s path to consumers runs directly through prepaid wireless service providers, CEO Steve Polsky said this week on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress.
“We're a mobile-first company,” Polsky said. “To me, that's the leverage point for working with consumers. It’s the start of it.”
Juvo’s primary geographic focal points thus far appears to be the Caribbean, Latin America and Southeast Asia, though Polsky is quick to point out that the company has a presence in 23 countries on four continents. Juvo is working with one unnamed carrier in the U.S., but its top priority is in markets where prepaid dominates the audience—which is to say, almost everywhere aside from the U.S.
“We want to build an international company, and that’s kind of the way” to begin a prepaid-based business, he said.
Juvo boasts an impressive list of financial backers including a slew of former CEOs in wireless: Arun Sarin (Vodafone), Moran Gyani (AT&T Wireless), Bill Estes (Sprint) and Antonio Viana-Batista (Telefonica) are all investors, as is Duncan Niederauer, former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.
Juvo claims it's offering helps service providers reduce churn roughly 40% while increasing ARPU from 10% to 15%. The identity score enables carriers to gauge the value of each customer, which in turn allows them to offer additional wireless services to their customers.
As the relationship builds, those offers can grow into a wide variety of services well beyond wireless. Juvo’s business model is a simple revenue share: The more a carrier sees metrics like ARPU and churn improve, the more money Juvo makes.
And while Americans often associate prepaid wireless with lower-income users, Polsky said Juvo isn’t aiming only at the low end of the market. Prepaid users account for 80% of the worldwide mobile audience, said, and customers across the financial spectrum are accessing Juvo’s offerings. And the company’s goal of building stronger relationships between service providers and end users is the same regardless.
“Among operators, they’re saying ‘Let's try to change the relationship with our customers,'” he said. “Identity is at the heart of it.”