Taking PopUp WiFi to the world
From start up to international tech player, PopUp WiFi, created by a Tasmanian team, is soon to open a US base in Santa Monica.
Beginning as a thriving consultancy firm known as Elan Projects, big changes have recently transpired for PopUp WiFi. The team of Andrew Davies, Nina McMahon and Linden Kurth, has harnessed the investment and mentoring power of local entrepreneur and founder of software development group XVT Solutions, Lawrence Hawson, to deliver a range of temporary, portable WiFi technology to a global market. Whether you’ve been in a Rod Laver Arena crowd, to the Portsea Polo or Tasmania’s winter-warming Dark Mofo, PopUp WiFi had you connected.
Co-Founder Andrew Davies grew up on a small farm outside of Burnie on Tasmania’s North West Coast. During his time completing a computer science degree at the University of Tasmania, Davies met business partner James Murdoch. Among other past ventures, Davies went on to become co-owner of Principal Computers and Zimmah Coffee with Murdoch, eventually employing project manager Linden Kurth. Today, Murdoch is not a shareholder in PopUp WiFi, but remains a close friend of the thriving business.
“Linden is our network engineering guru who will be moving to Santa Monica soon to set up shop there,” explains Co-founder and Customer Specialist Nina, “with Andrew’s hardware sophistication and Lawrence’s software capabilities, it’s a bit like the Charlies Angels of IT when these Tasmanians are at work together!”
The team have been “bending technology to the will of the people” for some time now. They are clever with humans, information and technology, which led them to being named Best Start Up ICT Solution at the 2013 TasICT Industry Awards and recently picked up three trophies at the 2017 Tasmanian iAwards.
Not only have the team brought solar and battery powered portable WiFi to events across the globe, but they have a highly specialised skillset that delivers solutions across other disciplines. From innovative web applications for efficiency, to consulting with private enterprise on the use of engagement tools, through to co-facilitating applied innovative technology workshops, the PopUp WiFi team are on the task.
“Doing business here in Tasmania is about being resourceful and lean,” explains Davies. “I believe if you can turn a buck in Tassie, you can do it anywhere. But you need to be creative. For instance, back in late 2014, we saw a gap in the market for PopUp WiFi and followed that lead. Anything we approach, we make sure it’s turn-key and scalable. This ticked both those boxes.”
While familiar to crowds at the Falls Festival, The Taste and Festivale, and Party in the Paddock, PopUp WiFi has also found demand beyond Tasmanian shores. It has connected 36 000 Brazilian soccer fanatics to the game, luxury resorts in Singapore, and will be operating on US soil within three months.
“What makes this WiFi option attractive to business owners is the marketing opportunities and additional capabilities,” explains Davies. “Logging into the WiFi can push consumers through a brand journey. Our WiFi towers can be visually branded and there’s also the option of crowd counting which is advantageous for large event organisers. They can track how long someone attends, if they leave and come back, all this information is captured. It’s just one of the ways we value add with our product delivery.”
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