Entrepreneur Profile: Adam Black, KeyWifi
Independent’s Entrepreneur Profiles celebrates the people out there changing the world every day. We ask each entrepreneur a few questions to give us a little insight into their vision of the future, and their take on building a company.
This month, we feature Adam Black. His venture, KeyWifi is a disruptive platform that delivers affordable internet access and universal wifi roaming by creating a peer-to-peer network of internet sharing that grows virally.
KeyWifi is very interested in finding people in all disciplines who want to work with them, most particularly in the areas of business development, business research, and international marketing.
Questions for Adam:
Q: What does your company do?
A: KeyWifi.com allows anyone, anywhere, to rent their wifi to others, opening up thousands of hotspots in a virtual network, whilst simultaneously lowering access cost. Our web-based wifi sharing system requires no additional hardware or software and is therefore available immediately and globally. KeyWifi is “The AirBnB of Wifi.”
Our goal is TO GIVE EVERYONE WHAT THEY WANT, it may seem lofty, but it’s important for us to strike the right balance between everyone’s needs. This approach allows KeyWifi to create the best overall experience for users and suppliers, staff members, partners, investors and everyone involved. KeyWifi is based on the philosophy that great things arise from recognizing interdependence. Through this cooperative approach, everyone strives to satisfy everyone else’s needs, and we all ensure that no single interest dominates. KeyWifi is a triple bottom line business that strives to create positive fiscal, social and environmental results in all our endeavors.
Q: When did you start your company? Why?
A: I started my company in September 2009 after I realized that whenever there is enormous supply and an enormous need, there’s a great opportunity. What I noticed was there is an enormous amount of supply, Internet bandwidth with people who have Internet at home or business access, and people who don’t always use it. For example there are shops who don’t use their connection when they are closed. There will always be people who cannot afford a connection, whether that be in America or somewhere else. Additionally, there will always be people who have either stepped out of the office, or who would otherwise like to connect to wifi outside of their signal in order to take advantage of a connection which is faster than 3G, and they cannot always do this.
I realized that it was so simple to redistribute bandwidth using wifi, if we could create a secure platform so I went ahead.
People buy an enormous amount of bandwidth and seldom use it. Conversely, there are lots of people who would like to use wifi in places outside of the signal strengths of their own personal connection. KeyWifi allows users to access the Internet without the hassle of connecting to a 3G network.
Q: What are your funding sources?
A: I mostly self-funded KeyWifi with some help from friends and family. In addition, we have enough enthusiasm from developers, product strategy people, designers and social media enthusiasts who just love the idea, the product, the simplicity, and the opportunity. I don’t think a lot of people do it, but basically we employ people and we say we can’t pay you now, but you’ll have a stake in the success of the company.
Q: What have the top 3 challenges been in your start-up process?
A: 6 months ago I would have said getting seed capital, but I think that this is always a challenge. You need to take a risk while you’re developing a product. Also, it’s very difficult to get seed money unless you have a prototype product, or at least a group already working on it.
Our current challenges have more to do with picking the right partners. Because we see people who have a lot of interest in what we’re doing, and who say that they want to work with us, we realize that we have the luxury of being rather selective about who we want to work with. Normally, we choose individuals who have the most passion. We also face the challenge of picking the right advisors, so in this case we also end up choosing those who seem most passionate about our mission.
The final problem is assessing the low hanging fruit of the market – in other words, which is the easiest market to get traction in.
Q: Define Entrepreneur.
A: I think the clearest definition that I can give is that an entrepreneur is someone who see’s an opportunity, and decides to manifest it.
Q: Read any good books lately?
A: Yes! Loads! Because my business is a peer-to-peer business, I would recommend reading “What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption”, by Rachel Botsman. It’s a fantastic read, which defines the current status and the opportunity of a peer-to-peer market.
Q: What is your advice for an entrepreneur starting out?
A: Don’t give up your day job! The more likely that your idea is to fail, the more that you should dedicate yourself to it. Understand that your vision is not the same as everyone else’s. Also understand that more often than not, other people know better – but sometimes they don’t. The wisdom is in knowing which of these two is the truth.
Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?
A: It’s actually my own quote. It’s not written down anywhere, but it’s really quite simple: the less money that you’ve got, the more love and compassion for your team you need.
If you are an entrepreneur in the Northeast and are interested in being profiled, we invite you to contact us.