Ghana’s Saya mobile debutes at TechCrunch Disrupt

Saya Mobile, a Ghana-based startup, today debuted its messaging service at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, California, highlighting the potential of African innovations to an international audience.

Saya Mobile, founded by Robert Lamptey and Badu Boahen in January 2010, is among the conference’s Battlefield finalists, now in session three, alongside Livestar, Dispatch and Undrip. The winner, announced tomorrow, will take home US$50,000 in addition to the coveted Disrupt cup.

Saya Mobile’s mobile-based application claims to be an SMS-killer as it is set to bring smartphone-like messaging to billions of low-end devices in emerging markets.Saya Mobile’s founders told HumanIPO earlier this year they were aiming for more than 50 million devices by 2014.

“We realised how much people believed in our app and we vowed to work on and improve it. We are also planning to launch Saya Mobile across Africa and not just here in West Africa”, said Lamptey.

The free cross-platform chat application works on low-end phones, enabling advanced functionality such as Facebook chat, group discussions, location-based chat and exchange of multimedia. It also claims to cut the cost of SMS by up to 1,000 times.

Saya allows chats between one’s phone contacts, Facebook friends and location-based chat. Its StreetChat enables people in one location to chat, meaning virtual meetings can be introduced in institutions and agencies, as well as for individuals looking to discuss issues instead of using ordinary SMS.

Saya is available for iOS, BlackBerry, Android and Java.

TechCrunch Disrupt aims to identify startups with the best new innovations. In addition it gives up-and-coming entrepreneurs a chance to pitch to venture capitalists and firms. Such events are held in cities around America.

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