Tizeti, a Nigerian telecommucations startup with solar-powered Wi-Fi towers in Nigeria, has concluded a Series A funding round to the value of $3 million. This funding round is a follow on from the Tizeti’s Seed funding round of $2,1 million during 2017.
The Series A funding round was led by 4DX Ventures with participation from existing investors Y Combinator Continuity, Lynett Capital, Social Capital, Western Technology Investment, Friále and Golden Palm Investments.
“Tizeti was built to tackle poor internet connectivity not only in Nigeria, but on the continent as a whole, by developing a cost-effective solution from inception to delivery, for reliable and uncapped internet access for potentially millions of Africans. We have grown rapidly in the Nigerian market in the last 12 months and expect to continue on this trajectory, as millions more Africans come online. This Series A investment allows us to continue providing a peerless service in Nigeria, building out our customer base there, as well as scale across Africa, starting with Ghana,” said Kendall Ananyi, CEO and Co-Founder of Tizeti.
You wouldn't be mistaken if you observed that almost every month, if not every week, Nigeria's technology startups announce a succesful funding round or partnership to help them expand beyond the West Afrikan country's borders, or both. The promise of Nigeria's population as potential future consumers is likely a factor in all of this but one cannot take away the effort the startup teams put in to get traction, grow their businesses and eventually raise funding to expand beyond Nigeria.
As with many recent raises by Nigerian startups in different sectors, Tizeti has stated that it will use the funding to expand outside of Nigeria. As part of this expansion, the telecommunications startup has said it will be launching a new consumer-facing brand Wifi.Africa later in 2018, with the first country outside of Nigeria being Ghana.
“Reducing the cost of data in Afrika is a critical step in accelerating the pace of internet adoption across the continent. Tizeti, driven by a stellar company culture, has built a world-class network that delivers data to users at a fraction of the current cost. Tizeti makes it easier and cheaper to connect Africa to the global digital economy and we are excited to partner with Kendall and his team on this mission,” said Walter Baddoo Co-Founder & Managing Partner of 4DX Ventures.
As part of the Series A funding round, Baddoo will be joining the Tizeti Board of Directors.
Apart from its public facing Wi-Fi business that provides residences, businesses, events and conferences with unlimited high speed broadband Internet access covering over 70% of Lagos, Tizeti also builds and operates solar-powered Wi-Fi towers in Nigeria.
Tizeti Wi-Fi coverage map. 2017
As part of efforts to offer affordable high speed Internet access in Nigeria, in 2017, the startup partnered with Facebook to deploy affordable Wi-Fi services across Nigeria. This partnership with Facebook added to the 7,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots Tizeti has already installed across Nigeria since graduating from Y Combinator’s Winter 2017 batch.
However, Tizeti will face some competition from Google as far as the provisioning of free or affordable Wi-Fi in Nigeria. After Vice President Yemi Osinbajo's meeting with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, in the USA, the search engine giant announced that it will provide free high-speed Internet access via Wi-Fi hotspots Nigeria through its Google Station service.
Having said that, the more affordable (or free) Wi-Fi, the better.
Cover image credit: Tizeti
Through it’s innovative use of solar-powered base stations, Tizeti is able to significantly reduce operating costs which allow the company to be hyper-competitive when it comes to subscription packages; a Wifi.com.ng unlimited plan in Nigeria currently costs $30/mth [NGN9, 500]. This, alongside the company’s extensive coverage reach, has given Tizeti a competitive edge in the ISP sector, establishing the young company as an ICT and tech infrastructure leader.
As part this financing round, joins Tizeti’s Board of Directors. Baddoo says