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Bloc Smart Africa leads $1m. round in SA’s township ISP
The BLOC Smart Africa fund (BLOC SA) – initiated by the Smart Africa Alliance and managed by Bamboo Capital Partners – has announced an investment of $585 000 in TooMuchWifi, a South African internet service provider.
BLOC SA led the $1 million pre-series A round, catalysing additional capital from Connectivity Capital, Atreyu Investments and a European Family Office together with existing investors who made follow-on investments.
The proceeds of the funding will go toward scaling operations to increase presence in the existing markets and expand into new communities.
TooMuchWifi is said to bridge the connectivity gap by bringing fast, uncapped and affordable fibre-backed Internet to under-serviced, densely populated areas of South Africa, like townships.
On average, people living in townships pay up to R200 per gigabyte of data depending on the data bundles they buy. By contrast, TooMuchWifi has brought down the cost per gigabyte under R4. This is up to 20 times the value of mobile network operator data.
A more equitable future with TooMuchWifi
TooMuchWifi chief executive Ian Thomson says, “To date, TooMuchWifi has saved Capetonians living in townships over R700 million (about $50 million) in data costs. We have trained and employed more than 245 previously-unemployed young people from the township communities we serve.
“We believe that one of the steps we can take towards a more equitable future is to ensure that all South Africans have access to fast internet for school, work and entertainment.”
The start-up has proved to be a real challenger among the internet service providers in Africa, believes Lacina Koné, chief executive and director-general at Smart Africa Secretariat.
“Their commitment to lower the cost of data and empower the under-served communities by giving them access to affordable internet and training previously unemployed young people is in line with our vision and objective at Smart Africa.”
Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, founder and managing partner at Bamboo Capital Partners describes TooMuchWifi as one of the most capital-efficient internet service providers they have seen in Africa.
“It is one of the few South African operators having demonstrated an ability to operate and scale in underserved communities, with exceptional client satisfaction and retention, by successfully combining its proprietary ERP software and unique leadership development culture. We are pleased to support the growth of TooMuchWifi and their mission to increase connectivity across South Africa.”
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