A Q&A with AlldayInternet co-founder Julio Astarloa. The Santander, Cantabria, Spain-based startup, which offers a wireless Internet access service for travelers in Europe, landed a €240,000 Seed funding round at the start of April from unnamed investors. It was founded in 2013, and plans to use the funds to expand its service footprint across Europe.
SUB: Please describe AlldayInternet and your primary innovation.
Astarloa: AlldayInternet is created to meet the need tourists have outside their home countries to stay connected to the Internet without having to pay expensive roaming fees. Initially, the idea arises to provide services to tourists visiting Spain, however from May we will expand our coverage across Europe.
Any traveler can visit the website of AlldayInternet, and by following three simple steps will be able to book a portable router, and we will send it to you upon your arrival to the hotel, holiday apartment, office, campsite, etc. Therefore, you will stay connected to the Internet 24/7 during the trip. At the end of the trip, the traveler only needs to return the router by post and our service will end.
Astarloa: Each year, Spain is visited by 60 million tourists. In Europe it increases to 350 million tourists, and the vast majority of them deactivate 3G and 4G data in their phones, laptops, etc., upon their arrival in order to avoid roaming charges. We provide the solution by renting a small portable Wi-Fi router, enabling them to stay connected to the Internet 24/7. Moreover, it can be shared with travel partners because the device can accept up to five simultaneous connections from different devices.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates AlldayInternet from the competition?
Astarloa: I have calculated that all the similar companies, including us, do not cover even 0.0016 percent of the potential market. The problem of our service is that the majority of tourists do not know of its existence. This is our challenge—to become well-known.
We have very little competition, but we are very happy about it because all of us together will be stronger to publish among tourists the existence of the possibility of staying connected to the Internet 24/7 in Spain and Europe.
SUB: You just announced that you’ve raised €240,000 in Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise outside funding?
Astarloa: During the first year of AlldayInternet’s existence, we have worked very hard in order to create the product, logistics, platform management software, etc., and to demonstrate that it is a good business. Once we achieved that, it was the time to look for external funding with the aim of turning AlldayInternet into a big company—increase advertising, international marketing, etc., and we have made it.
SUB: How do you plan to use the funds, and do you have plans to seek additional outside funding in the near future?
Astarloa: Funds will be used to open a new logistics headquarters in the Canary Islands and to expand the service throughout Europe, as well as to invest in advertising for AlldayInternet to become popular and show a fantastic service for travelers in Spain, and Europe starting in May.
We already have offers available of several investors from the USA, Mexico, Colombia and Thailand to expand our services to their countries. We would like to have local partners providing funds to develop AlldayInternet in their countries. In one year, we aim to be present in all continents.
Astarloa: The idea emerged due to my own need. I traveled to Japan in the summer of 2012, and I personally felt the need to stay connected to the Internet in Japan without having to pay roaming. I started searching for possible solutions, to ask other travelers, and with the information I gathered, the idea started to emerge. I remember I called my partner Carlos Villegas and I told him: “Carlos, we have a new business coming as soon as I arrive from Japan.”
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Astarloa: As soon as I arrived from Japan, Carlos and I started working looking for suppliers, website creation, [a] booking system and logistics, and only six months later, in March, 2013, AlldayInternet was launched.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Astarloa: We tried some names and we liked AlldayInternet because it showed the fact that we can have Internet 24/7, which travelers cannot have with roaming. Normally, they only can stay connected to the Internet via hotel Wi-Fi, which many times does not work properly, the room has a bad or slow connection, or they do not have the option of using certain services like video calls, etc.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Astarloa: To do a good job with marketing and make our service and brand well-known. To achieve this, we are hiring excellent professionals in several international marketing aspects. We are very happy to start working with them.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Astarloa: Each booking provides us revenue; depending on the number of booking days the profits are larger or smaller. More bookings, more profit. This is as simple as that.
SUB: What are your goals for AlldayInternet over the next year or so?
Astarloa: We would be really happy if apart from being available in Europe we could be also present in [the] USA and South American countries. We are also heading to Thailand, China, Australia and South Africa.