Startup of the Week

Yadwire Wants You to Have Free WiFi

The solution to free WiFi: Bringing in the ads.

Yadwire of Raanana wants you to have free WiFi. It wants everyone to have free WiFi.

Today some places, like hotels and airports, provide WiFi service - Internet access - for a fee. Others, like cafes, forgo payment, but get nothing in return, says Hagar Rips Valiano, VP of Business Development.

WiFi is a technology that enables electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablet computers and the like - and desktops, for that matter - to connect to Internet, using radio waves. WiFi typically operates in a very limited "hotspot" range of a few meters to say 20 meters, but the hotspot can ne enlarged using multiple overlapping access points.

And the world of WiFi may change forever soon, thanks to the advent of advertising, which was almost nonexistent there until now.

Yadwire's technology inserts ads, banners, buttons, into the surfing page in such a way that the ads look like part of the page, Valiano claims, whether the surfer is using a phone or home PC.

The company was launched by two new immigrants from France, David Ziza and Stephane Hercot. “We started with the issue of WiFi in airports. I wondered why people still have to pay for it. We started thinking about a model that would profit the airport but free for the customer.”

For small businesses, Yadwire provides a WiFi router called a Yadwire Box, which enables the business to design promote offers such as a second coffee at half price. Using an interface called Yadwire Studio, the business owner can prepare a banner, and within minutes post it on air to attract customers,” says Rips Valiano. Additionally, the business owner can enable the customer to log onto a social network and send a status update or tweet such as “Hi! I’m surfing for free while getting my hair blow-dried in the Mazal beauty parlor.”

For hotels, stadiums and airports the solution is broader: “It’s an advertising platform that creates income. We know the geographical location of the user, and therefore we know how to give relevant and targeted ads such as ‘Now in the lobby, drinks are 1 + 1’ (buy one, get one free)," says Rips Valiano. "Think about the focus. When you advertise on a web news site it’s a shot in the dark. We know how to address precisely the relevant customer, which is why the monetization is high. In a stadium we know which game you’re watching. In the airport, we can ask for the flight number, and in that way the advertising becomes even more relevant.”

Who brings the advertisers? Rips Valiano replies: “It depends. There are different models, and in the end the income from advertising is divided between us and the business owner. Our goal is to create a large advertising platform. We believe in this model and that’s why we didn’t sell the product as technology, but rather as an advertising and profit-sharing model.”

In Israel Yadwire has begun deploying in branches of Café Greg, and will expand the partnership. “We’re available in a number of shopping malls in Brazil, in the hope of making an impact at the FIFA World Cup this summer, and now we’re also active in Greece via marketers,” reports Rips Valiano.

The company was established officially only in February 2013. With the exception of Rips Valiano, who is a sabra, all eight of the firm’s employees are new immigrants. The company has raised 500,000 euros to date from private investors, and is engaged in another round of fundraising.

Kfir Sivan