Wi-fi for everyone!
During my trip through Thailand there was one recurrent irritation. The fact that in every new city, bar or place I visited, I needed to make a new Wi-Fi connection. I only needed to use the internet to see what places to visit, what route to take, etc. This task could be done in five minutes, but the finding a connection, asking for the password made my Thai Life a lot harder.
Hopefully an answer to my prayers came up with Instabridge. The company that was founded in 2012 wants to replace your phone’s default Wi-Fi manager and give you access to a crowd sourced database of Wi-Fi. Originally you shared your Wi-Fi with friends on Facebook, but Instabridge developed to broader Wi-Fi sharing community. Community members submit their password information through the Instabridge Android app, thereby opening (parts of) their network to everyone else. In addition the aplicaton comes with a pre-loaded database of venues that have free Wi-Fi, for example McDonalds or Starbucks. You can find where these spots are by looking on a map but most of the times you can also be navigated by using your phone’s compass. (http://instabridge.com/en/)
Yesterday Instabridge stated that it is hosting 20.000 individual sessions and adding 1.000 new access points every day. The app is coming up in emerging market such as Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and India, but also in countries like Spain, Canada, The U.S. and last but not least The Netherlands. The app is momentarily only working on Android devices, but the developers are making sure that it will be usable for iOS in the near future.
The company just raised $1.000.000,- to help this free network of Wi-Fi grow. The biggest part of this was backed by Creandum (the venture capitalist that was also involved in Spotify and Izettle early on). But several angel investors and other parties participated in raising the money. This shows that there is great interest in the potential this app could have.
There are some other apps that automatically connect you to open Wi-Fi network or similar apps (Wifi Opener), but Instabridge easily wins this competition due to the fact that it managed to build up a quite big following since it launched in 2012. Also what sets Instabridge apart is the community of users sharing Wi-Fi, making sure you get more (and better) Wi-Fi by using Instabridge. Personally I really hope this becomes a standard application and maybe even include the option to share your mobile internet (limited) to (foreign) users of this application.
Fitchard, K. (2014, October 15). community-wi-fi-startup-instabridge-lands-1m-seed-round. Retrieved from gigaom: https://gigaom.com/2014/10/15/community-wi-fi-startup-instabridge-lands-1m-seed-round/
O’Hear, S. (2014, October 15). instabridge. Retrieved from techcrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/15/instabridge/