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Wi-Fi sharing community Instabridge picks up backing from Draper Associates

TechCrunch TechCrunch 5/07/2016 Steve O'Hear

Swedish startup Instabridge, a Wi-Fi sharing community and mobile app, has picked up $1 million in new funding. Noteworthy for a European startup is that Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper’s Draper Associates has led the round, with participation from existing backer Balderton Capital.

Originally founded in late 2012 as a way to enable you to share your home Wi-Fi with friends on Facebook, the Stockholm-based company has since pivoted to become a broader Wi-Fi sharing community, and one that recently found traction in developing markets where cellular data remains prohibitively expensive.

The Instabridge app lets you share the details of any Wi-Fi hotspot with other Instabridge users, and provides access to Wi-Fi hotspots shared by everyone else in the community. This has enabled it to build a crowdsourced database of Wi-Fi hotspots, in addition to a list of known public venues that have free Wi-Fi, such as McDonald’s or Starbucks.

Meanwhile, I’m told that the app claims two million users, and has recruited 100,000 members to its Wi-Fi sharing community since launch. It’s growing fastest in emerging markets such as Mexico, Brazil, and India. Today’s new funding will be used to invest in growth and speed up the roll out of its app in more markets.

Instabridge co-founder and CEO Niklas Agevik tells me that since we covered the company last September, the team in Stockholm has grown from 5 to 13 people, and the company has built out a 4-person team in Brazil. As part of the latter, the startup has recruited Yelp’s former Nordic community lead to grow the Brazilian Instabridge community.

With that said, Instabridge is till pre-revenue, though Agevik says that the business model will be based recommending products and services once people come online. “We want to do more than just connect them – actually enable them to benefit from their internet connection,” he tells me.

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