eBuddy, a company that offers an IM service letting users chat across different IM clients, said today that 10 million people have downloaded its mobile application since it launched a year and a half ago.
It reached five million mobile chat downloads in July, and downloads have since accelerated to a rate of more than 1 million a month, the company reports. It is getting 40,000 downloads a day.
Larger incumbents such as Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger and Tencent’s QQ still have far more users than eBuddy has, however eBuddy’s advantage is that it lets users chat across these separate platforms.
eBuddy’s progress comes even as other young players stumble. Competitor Trutap, which also let people chat across different IM services, and another mobile service, EQO, have both stumbled recently. Trutap, of the UK, just let go almost 80 percent of its staff after its main venture backer, Tudor Ventures, withdrew its support and the company failed to raise another round of capital, and EQO also recently failed to raise funding, and has cut two-thirds of its staff. They both had relatively high burn rates, and no vibrant web-based business to support them.
eBuddy says it has about 1.5 times the number of users of Migg33, another popular mobile chat service.
Notably, eBuddy is still plowing resources into its mobile clients, even thought the service isn’t profitable yet. Mobile advertising has become a difficult proposition, especially in the downturn. eBuddy is focused on growth first, and isn’t too concerned with being profitable immediately, eBuddy CEO Jan-Joost Rueb told me in phone call. That’s because eBuddy’s web-based business is profitable, and so it has a solid base from which to invest. However, if you include its mobile activities, eBuddy is not profitable Rueb said. He plans to break even during the first half of next year, he said.
Rather than rely on mobile advertising, the company will turn to a subscription model to make money from its mobile offering, Rueb said. Mobile carriers are increasingly moving to open things like “application stores,” where users can download applications. Users don’t mind paying between $1 and $2 per month for a service they find useful, Rueb says, and so that’s what eBuddy is planning.
The company, based in Amsterdam, reports more than 70 million total users in 195 countries.
However, actual “active users,” or those who have used service in the last month, number far fewer. eBuddy boasts 30 18 million monthly users of its services, with 3 million of those on mobile.