WiCrypt Network, the first standalone blockchain-based WiFi sharing network from Africa, has won the Global Prize at LEAP 2023 Rocket Fuel Pitch Startup Competition. Wicrypt secures $150,000 as part of being the competition winner at the Saudi Arabian tech event and conference.
The LEAP Tech Conference is the largest-attended event in the world with over 100,000 attendees and is organised by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, and Informa Tech.
The founder of Wicrypt, Aronu Ugochukwu while receiving the Global Winner Prize of $150,000 today in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the category of "The Into the World Award Winner." The team being led by @ProfIsaPantami. pic.twitter.com/7fpnUAFXsn
— Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (@ProfIsaPantami) February 9, 2023
“We started this company to solve a real internet access pain point for people in Africa and underrepresented regions,” said Ugochukwu Aronu, CEO and Co-Founder of WiCrypt. “It’s exciting to see that our technology is being awarded for making a difference in a practical way and not theoretically. Thank you to LEAP, Saudi Arabia, and the outstanding judges.”
Judges for the pitch competition included:
- Ghazal Alagh, Co-founder, Mamaearth and Judge, Shark Tank India
- Baroness Karren Brady CBE, Vice Chairman of West Ham United Football Club
- James Caan CBE, entrepreneur, businessman, investor, and former Dragon on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, and
- Steven Bartlett, entrepreneur, investor, podcaster, and current Dragon on BBC’s Dragons’ Den
WiCrypt also announced the passing of 1,000 purchased hotspot hubs across the world with over one million con. The hotspot hubs are currently located in over 30 countries, including five in Africa, and over 100 cities. WiCrypt allows anyone to provide WiFi through the custom-built WiCrypt Hotspot Creator device. WiCrypt hosts are paid by those accessing WiFi, while also being incentivized by WiCrypt through its native token, $WNT, for having high device up-time.
“WiCrypt’s diligence, hard work, as well as dedication, were vital in their ability to develop a custom OS and hardware that allows users to share data with people around them at affordable rates,” said Professor Isa Ali Pantami, PhD, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Their efforts provide internet access to unserved and underserved communities and bring further prestige to the digital economy sector in Nigeria and all over the world.”
WiCrypt launched in Africa in 2018 as the first peer-to-peer mobile internet-sharing network on the continent, before signing an exclusive partnership with the Government of Enugu State, Nigeria, to provide internet service to its citizens. The company was bootstrapped by its founder before becoming profitable in 2020.
In 2021, WiCrypt raised $1.5 million led by AU21 Capital with participation from Polygon Founder and COO, Sandeep Nailwal.
The startup is led by Aronu Ugochukwu, the CEO of Xend Finance, one of the leading DeFi platforms in Africa.
Find out where all of Wicrypt’s Hotspot Hubs are located around the world here: https://scan.wicrypt.com/
Read more about Wicrypt here: https://wicrypt.com/.
About Wicrypt Network
Wicrypt is a decentralised mobile internet sharing and monetisation network, allowing anyone to get paid for sharing their WiFi. Wicrypt is the first African company to build a peer-to-peer infrastructure for sharing mobile internet data without the need for third-party integration. WiFi can be shared via Wicrypt’s custom, affordable Hotspot Creator, while providers can tailor unique experiences, including surveys and ads, while collecting customer data. An already profitable company, Wicrypt has an exclusive partnership with the city of Enugu, Nigeria, to provide last-mile internet service to its citizens.
Wicrypt has an international team with experience working for some of Africa’s largest employers, including KPMG, Chevron, Accenture, Nielsen, and MTN Group. The company is backed by AU21 Capital, Polygon founder Sandeep Nailwal, Cardano’s Occam, Inclusion Capital, Outlier Ventures, Chain Capital, Pluto Digital Assets, Onega Ventures, N7 Labs, and PolkaFoundary.
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