He’s Making $9.6m Off Those Horrible Airport WiFi Connections

gavin-wheeldon

In Episode #749, Nathan interviews Gavin Wheeldon. With over 15 years of experience working in technology led or enabled businesses, Gavin has a deep understanding of the impact of technology on the bottom line of an organization. He recently sold his last business, Applied Language Solutions, a global language technology and service business. He set up Purple WiFi, which is his current company, with the prime focus on building an enterprise guest WiFi system that is  user-friendly.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Who Moved My Cheese
  • What CEO do you follow? – Jack Welch
  • Favorite online tool? — InsightSquared
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 7
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “I’d rather read more of finance”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:24 – Nathan introduces Gavin to the show
  • 02:29 – Gavin travels a lot and he relies so much on public WiFi; that’s where Purple WiFi’s idea came from
  • 03:02 – Gavin sold his last company for over $60M
    • 03:20 – His last company was in the translation and interpretation industry
    • 03:23 – They used machine technology translation and were highly accurate
    • 03:43 – There’s also a phase of human editing so the translation ends up being perfect
    • 03:59 – Gavin was 36 when he sold it
    • 04:02 – It was completely bootstrapped
  • 04:44 – There’s no particular single owner of the space
    • 04:54 – Fon has a domestic hotspot
  • 05:38 – Purple Wifi is the new evolution of wifi and can drive more analytics
  • 06:03 – Purple WiFi is SaaS business, charging annually depending on the number of wifi points
    • 06:14 – For a single venue, the price is $13 a month
    • 06:22 – Purple WiFi also caters to stadiums and airports
    • 06:45 – An airport can average to a hundred access points
  • 07:10 – Purple WiFi currently has 17K installations
    • 07:15 – It ranges from restaurants up to a whole city
    • 07:53 – They now have around 80K access points
  • 08:03 – Average MRR is close to a million
  • 08:25 – Purple WiFi offers discount for bigger venues
  • 09:00 – Sales cycle varies every hour
  • 09:19 – A physical venue owner is usually clueless about what is happening in their venue
  • 09:50 – Purple WiFi is channel-based and sells through partners
    • 09:55 – Some of their partners include Telstra and Singtel and other national carriers
  • 10:23 – Team size is over 100
    • 10:30 – 45 are focused on sales and partnerships
  • 10:46 – Telcos are usually built with partners
    • 11:09 – They can build their own access points, but it takes years and it is a huge investment
  • 11:40 – Purple WiFi partners with half of the service providers in the USA
  • 12:12 – The partners with tell their consumers about Purple WiFi as a complete wifi solution and its advantages
  • 12:37 – Purple WiFi partners with Cisco and Ruckus for the access points
  • 13:06 – Purple WiFi does post-visit reviews which will prompt for a review of the coffee shop or hotel
    • 13:19 – There was around a 500% increase in TripAdvisor reviews
    • 13:21 – 600-700% increase in CRM generation
    • 13:28 – The value of Purple Wifi can be seen from Day 1
  • 13:43 – Purple WiFi was launched in 2013
  • 13:48 – First year revenue was $200K
  • 13:59 – 2014 revenue was around $600K
  • 14:13 – Purple WiFi consistently grows over 100%, year over year
  • 14:34 – 2017 target revenue
  • 14:48 – Gross margin is 80%
    • 14:59 – One of the challenges is the location and the amount of data needed
  • 15:35 – Purple WiFi is processing around 500K in data from all of their access points in a day
  • 15:50 – Purple WiFi has a net negative churn and gross customer churn is 12% yearly
    • 16:11 – Churn is usually from the lower end or small businesses
  • 17:00 – LTV is around 10 years
    • 17:10 – Most enterprise customers are signing 3-5 years with an upfront payment
  • 17:33 – Purple WiFi has raised $13M
    • 17:51 – The costs usually goes to engineering and sales
    • 18:07 – Purple WiFi spends on event sponsorship too
    • 18:24 – They track the events prior to sponsorship
    • 18:50 – Payback period is around 12 months
    • 19:25 – Average CAC
  • 19:39 – Purple WiFi is headquartered in Manchester, UK and the US office is in Austin, Texas
  • 20:13 – Purple WiFi needs the connectivity from the event handler or owner
  • 20:26 – Purple WiFi is tremendously valuable for conferences
  • 23:04 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Public wifi solutions are becoming more and more of a necessity, especially for establishments and events.
  2. Having your own wifi solution allows you to gather data (such as reviews) from those visiting your establishment immediately.
  3. Know your business well and partner with those who could take your business to the next level.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Simplero – The easiest way to start and sell your course
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives