Simplifyd Systems Inc., a YCombinator backed Nigerian startup with the ambition to become the platform of choice for data-free access to the Internet across Africa, has taken a huge leap. The company is announcing the launch of ZeroData, its toll-free internet application platform, to solve the challenges associated with accessing affordable data amidst the staggering rate of data consumption, especially amongst mobile and web app users in emerging markets across Africa. The company was founded by Tomi Amao, Mayowa Amao, Sam Keiru and Abiola Fajimi in 2020.
Today, the company has raised over $500,000 in pre-seed funding from YCombinator and Future Africa.
Co-founder and CEO of Simplifyd, Tomi Amao, says ZeroData, was created out of a strong desire to solve Africa’s worrying data affordability challenge, alongside the drive to support greater digital inclusion across the continent.
“ZeroData is designed to cater to both users with active data plans and those with none. For users with an active data plan, their data plan isn’t consumed when they make use of the application. Our app also enables users with no active data plans to enjoy uninterrupted access to the Internet apps listed on the platform.”
“For us, the realization that Africans pay the highest rate for mobile internet in the world proportional to income is worrying. This is a significant challenge that we are happy to solve sustainably through the launch of ZeroData. At the moment, smartphone penetration in Africa sits at 50% and the numbers are steadily rising. What you’ll typically find is that the market favours low data apps, owing to prevailing realities around data affordability. Through ZeroData, we are creating a convenient platform to access the Internet away from the challenge of huge data consumption for the continent's growing number of Internet users” Amao concluded.
According to the CEO, users will only need to download the Zerodata app available for mobile (Android) and desktop (MacOS and Windows). This provides them with instant data-free access to listed apps & websites. The ZeroData platform also allows businesses to bundle data with their apps for the purpose of making them accessible and data-free to those who need it most.
In Nigeria, data consumption is a growing concern. Reports say usage surged by 202.08 percent in three years - 2018, 2019 and 2020 - according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission amidst growing data usage across Africa.
According to GSMA, Nigeria had 53 million smartphone connections in 2018 and GSMA estimates that smartphone connections will rise to 154 million by 2025. Experts believe the uptake in data usage across Africa is largely driven by mobile devices, with GSM having the large portion of the market.
A significant uniqueness of ZeroData is the availability of fine-grained policies, which help organizations define who should have data-free access to their apps, how much data free access does each user get, and how best to geolocate data free access to users in a particular location amongst others.