By any standard the speed at which FON, the Spanish wi-fi company has emerged is remarkable.Since its launch just 90 days ago, some 3,000 ‘hotspot’ operators are using the FON software, it has partners in Europe, Japan, North and South America and it is aiming to have one million linked hotspots by 2010.
Now, to fund its next phase of development, Google and Skype have led an €18m round of investing for FON while Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures have also put up capital for the company.
They are putting serious trust in the man behind trust – Martin Varsavsky – who describes himself as a social entrepreneur and calls his clients ‘Foneros’. But he has a solid track record with the successful creation of five companies in the past 20 years including Viatel, Jazztel and Ya.com.
Using the same entrepreneurial spirit he set up The Varsavsky Foundation in May 2000 to tackle the social, political and economic issues of the day. Investing $11 million he created the largest educational websites in Argentina and Chile and the two largest in the Spanish speaking world, then was able to attract government, private and corporate donors to inject a further $50 million into the projects. I have a sense we’ll much more about Mr Varsavasky and his Foneros in the years ahead.
Thanks for reading Big Business.