There’s no shortage of apps out there to help couples communicate with each other, share messages and photos and whatever else. Here in the U.S., you’ve probably heard of Y Combinator-backed Pair, as well as Avocado and SimplyUs and maybe a few others. But one app you might not have heard of, Between, just closed a $3 million Series B round of funding, as it seeks to expand outside of its home market in Korea.
Between is huge in Asia — and growing. The app has had a total of 2.35 million downloads, and touts more than 900,000 active users per month. Couples are also pretty active on the app, sending more than 360 million messages and sharing 4 million photos per month. About 90 percent of its users are in Asia, with 70 percent in its home market of Korea. The company estimates that one in five young couples use the app there.
But it also sees a big opportunity in Japan, where about 10 percent of its users live. The company plans to use the funding to set up a Tokyo office.
“This year, we are especially serious about the Japan market. Japan’s app market is big, and is growing fast (with rising smartphone penetration),” Jaeuk Park wrote in an email. He points to the rapidly expanding messaging market in Asia and high user retention rate in Japan, as reasons to be bullish on that market.
The funding comes from Stonebridge Ventures, KTB Network, Capstone Partners, and SoftBank Ventures Korea. And it comes on top of a $1 million funding round that the company raised in November of 2011.
In addition to the funding, Between has been working on increasing monetization on the app. It’s got paid premium features, like stickers, which take advantage of in-app purchasing. And around the holidays, it offered gift suggestions that users could purchase for their mates. You could probably see that model extended to other holidays and to user birthdays, anniversaries, and other events.