Hoopoe Digital is a Wi-Fi Marketplace offering a wide range of Wi-Fi services and smart applications. Services are mainly targeted to Wi-Fi network owners/operators and marketing agencies, while smart applications are targeted to Wi-Fi end users. Hoopoe offers its services and applications through two integrated platforms; Wi-Fi Management Cloud (WMC) and Hoopoe Ad Manager (HAM). WMC is both Hoopoe’s next generation Hotspot Manager and App Store. HAM is Hoopoe’s Wi-Fi version of Google Ad Manager and Facebook Ads Manager. HAM can be viewed as Hoopoe’s main Wi-Fi monetization vehicle.
We have successfully developed 2 SaaS platforms (released to production); the Wi-Fi Management Cloud (WMC) and Hoopoe’s Ad Manager (HAM). We also developed 6 Wi-Fi services and 6 Wi-Fi smart applications and integrated them into our 2 platforms. We generated sales covering 75% of our expenses and acquired over 10 decently sized customers. We started to hear the word (the Wi-Fi guys) from many of the people who are not yet in our customers’ list.
Among our customers are Amazon Egypt, 4 restaurants and cafes including a famous fried chicken chain (Heart Attack), retail including the famous Italian men's wear brand (Harmont & Blaine), 2 transportation fleets, a bank and more to come.
Hoopoe Digital mainly targets the following customer segments:  Food & Beverage: Restaurants, Cafes and Pubs. So far we have 8 customers on this segment, 3 of them are chains (among them is Heart Attack for Fried Chicken which is a famous chain in Egypt) and one of them is Amazon Egypt Canteen. The number of access points served on this segment so far are 148.  Large Physical Venues: Shopping Malls, Train Stations, Airports, Banks, etc. We have only one confirmed customer in this segment (10 branches of Banque Du Caire), but we still didn’t deploy our services and applications. Two mega shopping malls in Cairo are in the final stage of closing the deal.  Public Transportation Fleets: 2 customers (Alexandria Passengers & Transportation Authority - APTA) and (MWASALAT MISR).  Retail: We have only 1 customer (Harmont & Blaine, a CLASS-A italian men’s fashion brand).  Advertisers, Marketers and Marketing Agencies: Currently all Ads and Campaigns are generated by the network owners themselves, not by 3rd party advertisers.
Problem or Opportunity
The number of global Wi-Fi public hotspots has increased from 94 million in 2016 to 454 million in 2020 with expectation to exceed 550 million just in 2021. The main use case for these millions of hotspots and other billions of Wi-Fi private/enterprise networks is to connect people wirelessly to the internet within local area vicinities. Yet, the Wi-Fi standard and its support by both hardware and operating systems provide way much more than this. Unfortunately, this potential is not properly commercialized, missing millions of business opportunities worldwide.
A simple example of this is the Wi-Fi “Captive Network Assistant” support found in operating systems such as iOS and others. This CNA is the host of the splash page you get redirected to once you connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. Currently, it’s used just to Sign you Up/In to the internet. Yet, it can potentially be a platform for an infinite number of location-intelligent smart applications. These applications can serve specific functionalities within the hotspot coverage that can not be reached beyond it.
Solution (product or service)
Hoopoe Digital introduced the new concept of “Wi-Fi Smart Application”. A type of application that neither requires you to install it on your phone/PC, nor is a regular web application that can be reached fr om the browser. Instead, it pops-up directly to your phone/PC screen once you get connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Wi-Fi Smart Applications are location-intelligent with up to 1-meter accuracy. If you are in a restaurant, you get the menu directly displayed on your phone screen so you can place the order directly to the kitchen. If you are in a train station or a movie theatre, you can book your seat. If you are in a shopping mall, you will get the mall shopping assistant so as you can navigate or search for promotions. Sky is not even a lim it for the number of Wi-Fi smart applications that can be imagined. This creates a new channel for digitizing everything and promoting touchless interaction which reduces the spread of COVID-19.
Hoopoe Digital also offers a wide range of Wi-Fi management, analytics and monetization services to Wi-Fi network owners/operators and marketing agencies.
Both services and applications are offered through Hoopoe’s integrated Wi-Fi Management Cloud (WMC) and Hoopoe Ad Manager (HAM). WMC and HAM are 2 web platforms that work in harmony to offer automated Wi-Fi management, business intelligence, an App Store for smart applications and a marketing tool to enable running location-intelligent targeted campaigns across all Wi-Fi smart applications.
Our current competition comes from Wi-Fi Management and Marketing platforms developed by companies like Ucopia, airangel, Tanaza, Adipsys and Aislelabs. Hoopoe Digital has 2 main competitive advantages over these competitors:  We offer Wi-Fi smart applications, not only captive portals like they do.  Their Wi-Fi marketing tools enable only the Wi-Fi network owner to advertise on his own network. Hoopoe Ad Manager enables both network owners and non network owners to run marketing campaigns on any managed Wi-Fi network. For example, if a public transportation bus fleet has a Wi-Fi public hotspot managed by Hoopoe’s Wi-Fi Management Cloud, any marketing agency can use Hoopoe Ad Manager to advertise and run location-intelligent targeted campaigns on this Wi-Fi public hotspot. Wi-Fi network owners can still moderate/reject any incoming campaign based on their preference. In general, this creates a new revenue stream for network owners.  The variety of the collected user data from all Wi-Fi smart applications enables Hoopoe’s Ad Manager customers to specify highly detailed personas for their campaigns.  The profiles we build for our Wi-Fi Smart Application users are richer than the profiles built by both internet service providers as well as individual web/mobile applications. This is because Wi-Fi is independent of the internet service provider and controls the channel through which all applications traffic passes through.
Advantages or differentiators
The following are some of the reasons why our solution is innovative:  We used an existing feature in Wi-Fi access points and its support in operating systems to introduce a new concept for smart applications. These applications know what you want and what you like based on your location and your profile, then offer it to you with just a click to join the Wi-Fi.  The user profiles we build from the rich data we collect from all Wi-Fi smart applications are securely portable from one network to the other. For example, if you use our Wi-Fi Smart Digital Menu in “Heart Attack Fried Chicken Restaurant”, we can intelligently recommend you what to order when you use it in “Bazooka Fried Chicken Restaurant”.  We enable advertisers, marketeers and marketing agencies to run location-intelligent targeted campaigns on Wi-Fi networks they don’t own.  Our (Wi-Fi in public transportation) service introduces a cheaper digital alternative to street billboards. Ads can be dynamically displayed to commuters based on the vehicle location and the commuters profiles.
Currently we offer 6 Wi-Fi services and 6 Wi-Fi Smart Applications through our Wi-Fi marketplace. All can be found here in the company profile (https://bit.ly/2LurTSa).
These services and applications are available through our integrated (WMC) and (HAM) platforms (both are subscription based SaaS platforms). We charge our customers per (Service or Applications) per Wi-Fi Access Point per Month. For example, we have a customer called Goblins’ Yard who has 4 Wi-Fi access points. This customer is subscribed to 2 services (Hotspot Management and Wi-Fi Marketing) and 3 applications (Smart Digital Menu, HEPlex and JukeBox). We charge them $10 per service per access point per month and $8 per application per access point per month. The total monthly subscription is $176. The OPEX linked with this is less than $5 per month, all for the cloud hosting.
The setup for these services and applications is done automatically through WMC and HAM platforms. If the customer requests us to manually do any setup/configuration, we charge that separately. Some customers request we partner with them (profit share model) for the Wi-Fi Marketing service. In this case, we get 30% to 40% of the campaign revenue based on the traffic size.
In the future, we are planning to open our Wi-Fi marketplace for third party developers the same way Google Play and iOS AppStore do. This will open a new profit share revenue stream (expected between 20% to 30%).
Our cost structure is: R&D (Salaries, etc), Cloud & Tools, Sales (we don't spend in marketing for the time being), Office.
You can find our business model canvas in this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mtmxrf3sMLj162UqeNwfYAdRuaxiXP94/view?usp=sharing
Our main risk is the cash flow. We are currently running self-funded and generating sales that cover ~75% of our expenses. This means we need to cover the rest and at the same time grow the business. If we can't raise the amount of fund that can help us achieve that, we won't be able to continue and grow.
Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment
We didn't join any acceleration or incubation program before.
Won the competition and other awards
No. Though, the founders of Hoopoe Digital were previously short-listed in the MIT Arab Business Plan Competition finals twice.