How London-Based Startup WICASTR Is Improving Connectivity & Access To Information

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Armin Saidi, CEO of the London-based startup WICASTR, spoke to us about the challenge to deploy wireless networks anywhere while improving connectivity and access to information across the globe.

How would you describe WICASTR in 50 words or less?

WICASTR is a patented Smart Wireless Platform that facilitates the creation of wireless networks and content distribution everywhere – no IT skills needed. We make easy for anyone to deploy wireless networks anywhere in a simple and affordable way.

How did you discover the need for your services? What problem are you solving?

WICASTR was devised to overcome bandwidth congestion crisis experienced by today’s Telcos and Operators, as well as address a tremendous market opportunity for connectivity in emerging market. The existing infrastructure is unable to support the massive influx of smart and connected devices.

Furthermore, over 4.3B individuals still remain without connectivity with a staggering 80% of all smart devices to eventually be in emerging markets by 2020. As such, the industry is looking for efficient, simple and affordable means to overcome connectivity challenges – our service is one such technology.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

We stay grounded as much as we can. Experience has thought us that things are never as good or as bad as they seem. So we do our best to be positive, work hard to get things done, and most importantly enjoy what we are doing.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

We initially bootstrapped WICASTR for the first year until we were accepted to Techstars Accelerator in 2013, which eventually lead to us raising a seed round in 2014 allowing us to execute our business plan. Our next plan is to grow the business via sales and organic growth.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

It’s about staying true to your vision, establishing a strategy to achieve your goals and milestones and executing. Of course we must adjust to market trends and clients needs, however, we tend to focus on our vision and everything we do must fit with the scope of this vision.

On of the most important tasks in order to achieve goals is to align your team with said vision. What else do you look for in team members and why should they join you?

A combination of top skills and experience, a desire to learn and grow professionally, a team player attitude and someone who is willing to go the distance to get things done – it’s all about achieving results. We spend a lot of time together, at times under extreme pressures and stress, as such it’s important to find team members that believe in the dream and mission of the company and that they are looking forward to working hard with us to achieve the vision of WICASTR.

They should join us because they want to participate in building the future of wireless and, more importantly, providing connectivity and access to parts of the world that have limited or no access.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

There are so many to choose from. I would say signing our first paid client, delivering the product to them and having the client write a phenomenal thank you letter because our innovative wireless technology helped them overcome their challenges successfully, was one of the most memorable moments to date.

I must admit that having our first team meeting was very important too, following our initial funding round from 2015. You see, in a matter of months we went from the 3 founders to having 6 new team members, now we’re 17, and this first meeting with them was very important and to date quite memorable.

What were the biggest challenges you faced building WICASTR?

Again, so many to choose from! Technology challenges, how to build a hardware based company with little or no funds. Figuring out how to convince clients to use our products and then making sure it worked as planned. Finding the right team members to join us was quite challenging too. We still face challenges daily, however we’re getting better at handling them now.

What’s next for WICASTR?

Growing the company and deploying our products. We’ve spent the last year building our team and product, and now we’re switching from product development to market and business development.

Another task is to execute our business plan and grow the company with sales. We now have a product, a solid team, and some finances to support us. We seek to find the right partners to help us go to the next level and get our products in the hands of our customers.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

WICASTR was instrumental in improving connectivity and access to information across the globe. Regardless if it’s in a developed country or emerging market, connectivity issues are around us and we want to help resolve this important issue. We want to help connect the world and 7 years from now we found the right partners to help us achieve our mission and goals.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

It’s very hard to start and run a business and you have to be ready for anything. My advice for fellow founders:

  1. Be ready mentally because it’s very difficult and challenging on many levels. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, and one should expect to experience some sort of emotional roller coaster on a regular basis.
  2. Find mentors and surround yourself with as many smart people as possible.
  3. Be persistent. It will take a long time.
  4. Be ready to sacrifice some of the pleasures of life.
  5. Plan, plan, and plan again. And be ready to change the plan if need be! It’s about having a vision, establishing the right strategy and most importantly finding the people and having the right mindset to execute it.



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