Danish startup AllUnite, which lets retailers offers ad-supported free Wi-Fi in their stores, plans to add 50 new markets in 50 weeks with its €3 million ($3.76 million) in new funding, TechCrunch reported.
The Series A round, which was led by European VC firm Northzone and Denmark’s largest grocery retailer, Coop, is on top of €1 million from Danish investor Christian Stadil and the company’s founders in seed cash.
“In the EU, we are expanding into Denmark, Sweden, Spain, France, Italy, Poland and Romania,” said co-founder Kasper Gevaldig. “Globally, we are expanding into China, Chile, Australia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan, and South Africa, amongst others.” The company has signed up 4,000 retailers and registered more than 2 million unique Wi-Fi users on its network to date.
AllUnite rents its Wi-Fi boxes to retailers for €15 ($19) per month. The stores get half of the ads, which appear at the bottom of the shopper’s browser, with AllUnite selling the other half. (AllUnite says it won’t sell ads to the retailer’s direct competitors.) Along with ads and customer Wi-Fi, retailers also get anonymized data on the proportion of repeat visitors, heatmaps of where customers go in the store, individual browsing habits and interests, and customer profiles detailing gender, age, and marital status.
The system is similar to Apple’s iBeacons, but using Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth and letting customers browse the web at the same time. AllUnite is even more similar to China’s Baidu, which also installs free Wi-Fi in retail areas and shopping complexes.