ezWiFi, an internet sharing startup based in Islamabad, has raised a six-figure sum in a pre-seed fundraising round to extend its internet service.
ezWiFi allows brick-and-mortar businesses, such as cafes and restaurants, to make money by providing free internet to their consumers. The hardware, as well as the backend internet subscription fees, are covered by ezWifi, which earns money by displaying digital adverts on the ezWifi interface every time a customer uses a laptop, phone, or tablet to access the internet.
Currently, ezWiFi claims to have signed up 115 businesses to provide internet connectivity to their consumers, including international brands such as The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and Second Cup. Unilever, L’Oreal, and Jazz have also partnered with the startup to provide its services at supermarkets, events, and public spaces.
Cafes and restaurants typically provide free internet service at their establishments on their own, but with ezWiFi, they can transform their costs into profits. If things go well for the startup, it wants to install internet at retail outlets other than cafés and restaurants, such as other retail enterprises, schools, universities, and hospitals, followed by making internet available everywhere through a network of hotspots.
Despite the revenue sharing arrangement, ezWifi is a sustainable business, according to Sher Ali Khan, the company’s founder, and CEO. “We don’t advertise on Google or Facebook,” Khan explained.
“We have our ad network, and advertisers and agencies may publish advertising directly through our ad manager, which keeps us afloat,” he explains. “What makes us compelling is our ability to precisely target the demographic intended to watch the ad — advertisers may go as broad as targeting everyone on the ezWifi network, or as narrow as targeting ladies between the ages of 30 and 40 sitting at Coffee Bean on a Tuesday,” added CEO.
According to a statement from the startup, “ezWiFi also offers businesses a mobile and online application where they can examine analytics, run promotions, develop customer lists, collect feedback, and manage multiple locations.”
“ezWiFi has us thrilled because it allows connecting the public to high-speed Internet while giving value to businesses,” said Iftikhar Wahla, managing partner at E42 Ventures.
“I love Sher’s vision and how he has created a business model and technology platform that has the potential to enable a billion users with access to the internet but also enable restaurants, retailers, and others to digitize their businesses, marketing, and finances over time,” said Naeem Zamindar, angel investor and managing partner at Neem Exponential, in response to the investment.
ezWiFi plans to use the funding to increase the team and expand its network into additional areas in Africa, South Asia, and the Gulf region after scaling in the Pakistani market.
Image Credit: ezWiFi