What can 2.1 billion people do with their mobile phones? Nathan Eagle wants to find out.

Txteagle, which is the brainchild of 2010 PopTech presenter Nathan Eagle, is using mobile technology to mobilize and engage the 2.1 billion consumers in emerging markets it has access to - across 220 mobile phone operators in 100 countries. Leveraging this audience, txteagle gives brands access to these consumers’ insights by offering pre-paid mobile airtime, coupons and purchase incentives.

In his PopTech talk, Eagle describes how his work at MIT, in Kenya and around Africa led him to this project. Mobile phones’ ubiquity in the developing world, their ability to send and receive money through services like M-PESA, and their potential to communicate work opportunities were all factors that contributed to the development of txteagle. The question Eagle wondered when it came to mobile technology was, “What other types of work can people do in rural areas that we can ultimately compensate them for? How can we help them start monetizing their idle time?”

An article from The Next Web explained how txteagle’s business model functions:

txteagle’s model works because the company is able to purchase airtime from mobile operators when global clients like the United Nations use their service, thus enabling mobile operators increase their revenue streams. This airtime is then used to compensate mobile subscribers in emerging economies for filling in surveys, providing data or even purchasing a product. “That value proposition really resonates with mobile operators and in many instances they approach us to integrate our airtime incentive platform into their back-end billing systems,” Eagle said.

With an $8.5 million investment back in April from Spark Capital and RBC Venture Partners among others, txteagle is poised to capture the voices and opinions of 2.1 billion people through the gadgets in their pockets.

Image: txteagle

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