How Viber achieved profitability by NOT following the WhatsApp model

February 4, 2021 by No Comments

I remember Viber as an app my college friends and colleagues would use to call their relatives in other countries in the early 2010s. Since then, Viber has changed and evolved into a messaging app too.

After WhatsApp released its new controversial privacy policy last month, there has been a lot of talk about finding alternatives to the Facebook-owned app. Most of these conversations have revolved around Telegram and Signal. However, Viber has built a strong case for itself by establishing itself in non-western markets.

I talked to the company’s CEO, Djamel Agaoua, about the app’s business model, operations, and how it plans to target a different audience than Telegram and Signal. But before we jump into that, let’s take a quick look at the app’s history.

History

Viber was founded in 2010 by Talmon Marco and Igor Magazinnik, who worked together in the Israel defence force. Initially, the app just focused on person-to-person calling to compete with the likes of Skype.

In 2012, the company began to develop the app as a messaging product with features such as stickers. In 2014, Japanese telecom giant Rakuten acquired Viber for $900 million.