Company building solar-paneled internet network in Nigeria gets $2.1m funding

Tizeti, a wireless internet company that is building its own solar-paneled internet network in Nigeria, has secured $2.1 million Seed Funding from international investors including Western Technology Investment, Social Capital, Vy Capital, Picus Capital, Ace & Company, Lynett Capital Partners, Zeno Ventures and a number of angel investors including Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel and Gabriel Hammond.

The Y-Combinator-backed company has been deploying unlimited high speed internet access in the country for three years through its consumer facing brand, Wifi.com.ng

Operating widely as a “Comcast for Africa”, Tizeti builds and operates solar-powered towers to provide reliable and affordable Wi-fi services to hundreds of residential areas and SME’s across Lagos, Nigeria’s megacity. The capital injection, secured as part of this seed round, will see services extended across the city and the South-South region of Nigeria, by launching an Xfinity Wifi-like Hotspot service, as well as scaling up mobility with the inclusion of 3,000 new public hotspots across Lagos.

“Today’s seed announcement allows us to grow aggressively in the Nigerian market, and we will continue to invest in building out our own solar powered infrastructure, as well as refine and expand our consumer focused product that delivers reliable, cost-effective Wifi to potentially millions of Nigerians. We aim to ‘win Lagos’, with a view to expanding across the West African region over the next 18-24 months,” co-founder Kendall Ananyi said on Monday when the Funding was announced.

Ananyi and co-founder Ifeanyi Okonkwo are both cohorts of the Winter 2017 batch of Y Combinator.

It is estimated that 26% of Africans are online, however only 6 percent have an internet subscription. As the use of solar power in West Africa grows, Tizeti is building out its network of 35 owned and operated towers, taking advantage of the rapidly decreasing cost of solar panels in the region; providing unlimited, undisruptive internet with a basic speed of 10mbps. Additionally, the company owns a delivery network that facilitates internet connectivity from Submarine Cables directly to their customers through its solar-powered Wifi towers.

Tizeti Co-Founder Ananyi adds, “Since graduating from Y Combinator, we’ve licensed Spectrum (fees and pricing) from the Nigerian Government and signed an IRU contract with a Submarine Cable provider to extend the coverage of our Unlimited Internet Service, which will put Tizeti in a stronger position to roll out additional services to more people such as our new Wifi Hotspot Service”.

Since its launch, Tizeti has connected thousands of Nigerian subscribers to broadband internet, and continues to capitalise on a market that is witnessing steady growth. The company is visibly striving to transform the way Nigerians and Africa operate online.