Samba Mobile, a UK startup that gives its users free 3G mobile broadband in exchange for watching video adverts, and Whatsapp-style Spanish startup yuilop, which provides free VoIP calls and texts to its users via Android and iOS apps, have announced a strategic partnership to co-promote each others’ services.
There’s no product integration yet, but Samba CEO Ben Atherton told TechCrunch that if the cross-marketing goes well, they might look at building a deeper connection. “If and when we see positive feedback, we can look at product integration,” he said. Their joint press release talks cosily about potential synergies and service alignments — “enabling users to easily interact with promotions and adverts across either platform, providing even higher levels of engagement for advertisers.”
Samba, which only launched in the U.K. back in July, raised just shy of £1 million in its second round of angel investment last month and now has some 10,000 users. It remains UK only for now but says “watch this space for 2013” on the international expansion front — citing Germany, France and the U.S. as its “top 3 expansion markets”.
Yuilop has been around for longer but only started an international rollout in March 2012. It’s raised $7.12 million to date, according to CrunchBase — securing €4.5 million in Series A funding in May this year.
Both startups employ a credit-based model to drive usage. Samba customers accrue free mobile data by watching video adverts; yuilop customers earn ‘Energy’ points to spend on free voice calls and texts when they use the service to chat with friends or recommend it to a friend who subsequently signs up.
“The yuilop service has a number of synergies with Samba,” added Atherton in a statement. “In creating a strategic partnership, I believe that both businesses can benefit from offering even greater value to both users and advertisers.”