WeFi was born on a Zoom call, where Matt, Cameron, and I were brainstorming a concept for our E-Cup pitch. Matt and I were in the same room as we live together, but our WiFi kept cutting out. When we finally reconnected, it became clear that we should try to solve our biggest and most obvious problem in fall 2020 — WiFi connectivity issues.
I have always been fascinated with marketplaces and their ability to solve a problem for two separate parties at the same time (both supply and demand). WeFi is a marketplace, but with a wrinkle — all sellers have the capacity to be buyers and vice-versa. There is no separate UI for a buyer or a seller, no different onboarding, nor excess verification requirements. If you have a private WiFi network, you can join the WeFi ecosystem, as both a buyer and a seller.
While WeFi does not have a working prototype, if we could build an MVP of the product, I believe scale would be much easier to achieve than a traditional marketplace. Two-sided marketplaces run into a “chicken or the egg” problem when trying to gain a critical mass of users. In a clothing resale app (think eBay or Grailed), do you attract buyers looking for clothes or sellers who have them? Sure, there might be a select few who do both, but it is not assured. The traditional answer is to seek the asset first so that you have a valuable platform. In the above example, the asset is the seller with excess clothing. If you can gather enough of them, the buyers should flock with a bit of marketing spend. Or is the asset a host of willing buyers? If your platform has customers looking to spend money on used clothing, sellers should rush to it and start generating revenue?
Since neither of these strategies works without the other, many marketplaces try to scale both sides at the same time, which is a tough approach. If the numbers shake out and the platform works mathematically, the marketplace might survive. WeFi avoids this problem altogether as every user has both excess WiFi at certain times and a need for it at others.