The search for reliable WiFi can be frustrating. Which is why we need to spread the Karma.
Meet Karma. It fits in your pocket and keeps you connectd Karma will boost your productivity and keeps your devices online, everywhere you go. Give it a home in your bag and stay connected for good. You pay-as-you-go for data, with no contracts, and are rewarded with free data every time you share your connection. The more you share, the more you earn. Yup, that’s how you network in this day and age. Co-founder and CEO Steven van Wel is here to tell us more about his Techstars alum company.
Tell us about the service.
Karma began with one simple idea: everyone should be able to get online, everywhere they go. The Karma Hotspot introduces the first peer-to-peer WiFi device that allows you to share access to the Internet, but pay for your own data. It’s WiFi made for sharing. Every Karma Hotspot comes with an open WiFi signal and anyone around can connect to it. When they do, both the guest and the owner will receive 100MB of free data. The more you share, the more free data you’ll earn. It’s good karma, all around.
How is it different?
We’re unique a couple ways:
- Unlike the big telco models, with Karma, there are no contracts or monthly commitments. You only pay for data as you need it, and the data never expires.
- Plus, users can earn free data for sharing their open WiFi signal with others around them – what we refer to as “social bandwidth.”
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Over 90% of Americans own a mobile device, so the market is obviously huge. Currently, Karma is available in over 80 cities nationwide and we’ll be soon be expanding to the Sprint LTE network (later this year), which will bring coverage to over 230 cities nationwide.
We also have our eyes on the international market, but for starters, we are focused on bringing our US customers the best service in as many cities as possible.
What is the business model?
Karma is a true pay-as-you-go model, where people only purchase the data they need, when they need it and Karma’s revenue comes from the data sold. In addition, people can earn free data from sharing their open WiFi connection, 100MB per user.
We’ll be launching an LTE device with nationwide coverage later this year.
And the next step will be global coverage, by building the world’s wifi network – allowing you to stay connected anywhere in the world.
What’s the most popular device on Karma?
With the vast amount of mobile devices being used, including tablets, laptops, e-readers, etc., there doesn’t appear to be only one. We see the entire gamut of mobile devices being connected to Karma.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
Warren Buffet. He’s a genius of a businessman and we’d value his insight, let alone his possible financial support and contribution to our success.
Why did you launch in New York?
New York is a place where everyone is mobile and on-the-go, 24/7. It’s the city that never sleeps and it offers a wide diversity of people, companies and culture. It’s not just startups: it’s fashion, it’s food, it’s music, it’s art. It’s also a great place to work as a startup. The thinking is innovative, and the energy exciting.
By the way, we’re hiring! As we ready to ramp our product and services more nationally, and eventually globally, we are expanding our team.
Where is the best place to ride your bike in NYC?
The best place to ride a bike in NYC is Governors Island. One of the best car-free places to bike in the area.