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Apps-for-feature-phones leader BiNu scores more cash

$US4.3m to enter markets where feature phones still rule

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Australian developed mobile platform biNu, which aims to give all mobiles access to smartphone apps, has secured a fresh round of VC funding to further expand into emerging markets.

The creation of former OzEmail executives Gour Lentell and Dave Turner, biNu has topped existing funding from Eric Schmidt’s investment vehicle TomorrowVentures with $US4.3m A-round investment from Dick Parsons and Ronald Lauder’s PanAfrican Investment Co, 500 Startups and Australian entrepreneurs Adrian MacKenzie, Nicholas Gruen and Anthony Pascoe.

The new funding will be used to continue the roll out of the platform in emerging markets, including Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe.

The cloud based platform was launched in 2010 and has over four million active monthly users globally, mostly in emerging markets where mobile handsets are the only conduit to the internet.

BiNu works across Android and Java offering 100 channels and social media sites access with the added feature of local translation.

The company has been developing new social commerce features with the launch of biNu credits, a system allowing members to send SMS text messages to non-members anywhere in the world as well as purchase premium content and digital downloads, such as services and games.

“BiNu set out to give the four or five billion people who don’t have top end smartphones or reliable high bandwidth cellular networks a great mobile internet experience,“ said CEO Lentell.

The company has attracted backing from Australia’s leading entrepreneurs including Paul Bassat and the latest round features the first time investment from Lauder’s PanAfrican Investment Co.

The company used its first round of $2 million funding acquired in August to open US office and secure more Silicon Valley funding. ®

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