Featured Startup Pitch: True to its name, Karma brings an innovative approach to mobility by encouraging people to share wi-fi through ‘Social Bandwidth’

By Editor January 15, 2013
Robert Gaal, Karma

Karma logoCompany: Karma

Website: www.yourkarma.com

Founders: Robert Gaal, Steven van Wel and Stefan Borsje

Headquarters: New York City

Year Founded: 2012

Investors: BOLDstart Ventures, Chang Ng, Collaborative Fund, David Cohen, David Tisch, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Elliot Loh, Jerry Neumann, Kal Vepuri, TechStars, Werner Vogels and 500 Startups

Twitter: @yourkarma

Facebook: facebook.com/getyourkarma

Blog: blog.yourkarma.com

Brief Company Description: Share wi-fi. Earn free data. Repeat. Introducing Karma: the first social hotspot.

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Robert Gaal, KarmaBy Robert Gaal, co-founder and CEO

Product Overview

Karma is a simple and honest mobile provider. With Karma you pay for data as you go, and take it with you on your 4G mobile hotspot. The more you share your connection, the more free data you earn. Karma calls this: Social Bandwidth.

Karma operates as a virtual provider on the Clearwire 4G mobile broadband network, which covers approximately 135 million people across the U.S. Simplexity, an authorized MVNA and preferred MVNE for Clearwire, is providing Karma with the access to Clearwire’s 4G network.

Founders’ Story

Founded in 2012, and based in New York City, Karma was founded by Steven van Wel, Stefan Borsje, and me.

I was born in a town with the unpronounceable name of ‘Sliedrecht’. Before being named ‘Europe’s Top Young Entrepreneur’ by BusinessWeek, I had two successful careers: first as a boy scout, then as a basketball player. I also co-founded Wakoopa, a digital measurement startup.

Bios for our other founders can be read at: yourkarma.com/about

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Every Karma hotspot has an open wi-fi signal on it that anyone around can connect to. When they do, they get 100MB of free data. The owner of the hotspot also gets 100MB of data. This allows any of our customers to easily show others that Karma works. That might be viral, but we just like to call it karma.

Market Opportunity

We believe there’s two basic things missing from the mobile industry. First, we’d like things to be simple. You manage your own account, and set up your own billing, all online. Second, we feel there’s a need for honesty. No surprises fees. No hidden data caps. Just one price, dependable service, and effective help when you need it.

How We Differentiate from the Competition

Karma allows you to pay for data as you go, and take it with you on a mobile wi-fi hotspot. The more you share your connection, the more free data you earn. We call that: Social Bandwidth. Ultimately, we’re focused on reinventing the mobile provider. We’re making connectivity simple and honest. There’s a lot that we see needs fixing, and this is just the start. Stay tuned!

Business Model

Consumers looking for an easy and transparent solution to wi-fi on-the-go can order a Karma hotspot starting today via yourkarma.com for $79, including one gigabyte of free bandwidth. Additional bandwidth costs $14 per gigabyte and never expires.

Current Needs

We’ve just launched our product, so our next step is totally about our customers. How do they use our product to improve their daily lives? What doesn’t or does work for them? That’s where our focus is. We’re open to talking with new funding partners over the next course of 2013, when we have some exciting learnings in from those customers. We’re also always looking for talented people to work with. If you’d like to know more, get in touch through [email protected].

Karma – www.yourkarma.com