>> It's being downloaded more than ever before. SkyAlert, an earthquake alerting app has doubled its user base to nearly 6 million people. Ever since two major earthquakes hit Mexico in September, killing at least 460 people and leveling dozens of buildings. But despite the surge in demand, finding a sustainable business model has been a challenge for the free app.
Reuters correspondent, Sheky Espejo, is in Mexico City. SkyAlert is exploring innovative ways to monetize its app. It is partnering with Spanish insurer Maverick to sell house insurance products through the app. And selling a premium version that allows users to personalize alerts. That premium version costs $4 a year, which many users do not want to pay.
Products that detect seismic activity are also hard to monetize without government support. Mexico's official alerting system is run by a rival government-funded service which has a network of sirens on the streets of Mexico City. And public buildings as well as schools must buy their alerts from them. So SkyAlert is looking to expand beyond the capital.
> We want to increase the number of sensors from 80 to 180, and install them in the next six months. In order to reinforce this seismic area, we'll be placing them in other states in the country.>> Sky Alert has also attracted the interest of global investors.
And hopes to raise 100 million pesos, or $5.3 million U.S. dollars by 2018 to expand its services to other Latin American countries in earthquake zones.