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Juvo Receives Investment from Samsung to Boost Smartphone Usage Among Underbanked

Mobile identity company Juvo has received an investment from Samsung NEXT, an off-shoot of Samsung that launched in 2013 to create new software and foster a startup culture at Samsung. The amount of the investment was undisclosed and adds to the San Francisco-based company’s $54 million in equity funding.

The bigger story here is that the investment is a strategic one. Samsung will bring Juvo access to billions of underbanked prepaid users across the globe. This will help Juvo enable MNOs to increase smartphone adoption among prepaid mobile subscribers.

Juvo was founded in 2014 with a mission to “establish financial identities for the billions of people worldwide who are creditworthy, yet financially excluded.” The company’s tag-line sums this up as, “access for all.”

In today’s press release, Steve Polsky, founder and CEO of Juvo, explained that the investment and alignment with Samsung NEXT is important because it allows Juvo “to further realize our vision by being among the first to integrate financial identity into a hardware device and, with it, offer unprecedented access to greater financial services.” He added, “Samsung opens a critical piece of the ecosystem for Juvo, and its world class organization, market expertise, and reach will accelerate the Juvo mission, putting sophisticated technology in the hands of unbanked people and provide financial access to those who need it most.”

“At Samsung NEXT, we’re focused on working with entrepreneurs and startups that are creating truly impactful software and services–software and services that will transform the way we, as humans, interact with our devices, each other and the world,” said Patrick Chang, Principal at Samsung NEXT Ventures. “Juvo’s impressive traction from mobile operators and consumers offers an opportunity for us to tap into the next billion customers through more comprehensive financial inclusion and accessibility.”

Polsky demoed Juvo’s Identity Scoring at FinovateFall 2016. The company empowers underbanked consumers by offering them a single identity with which to access financial services across the globe. Juvo also incentivizes financially underserved consumers to build credit and access financial services by extending microloans.

Since launch, the company has attained a reach of more than 500 million subscribers across four continents and is deployed in 25 countries. Last fall, Juvo partnered with Malaysian mobile virtual network operator, Tune Talk.