by Derek S
Even for a seasoned traveler, touching down someplace new engages a primal survival response. It’s part of what we love, that little thrill that sets our travel senses tingling. For the uninitiated, whether it’s Ipswich or Istanbul, a challenge lies ahead – and at Minaal it’s in our DNA to look for ways to travel happier, faster and more productively from the moment we step off the jet bridge.
These days we have a different set of needs upon landing. Shelter, food, and water (preferably hot, highly pressurized and filtered through a choice espresso roast) are still very important… It’s just that a local cafe and Airbnb take care of the basics without much fuss.
When it comes to internet access, however, the law of the jungle prevails. You’ll need to rely on your years of experience and a very particular set of skills, skills you have acquired over a very long career. From foraging for a reputable SIM merchant, to haggling in a poorly understood currency, to cutting your new SIM to actually fit into that fiddly, surprisingly bendable little tray in your device – there’s plenty of opportunity for a small mistake to become a life-threatening catastrophe.
Enter Alldaywifi – three gents that’ll come straight to you and place the internet directly into your hands.
Well, at least that’s how it worked for us when we ordered our wifi hotspot shortly after arriving in Istanbul. They are a brand new company just getting off the ground and we happened to be among their first customers.
Alldaywifi delivers 3G wifi hotspots capable of supporting all of your devices at once, to wherever you are, in 2 hours or less.
Feel like working from a barge on the Bosphorous or around back of the atmospheric, but less than modern wooden Yali you’ve booked for your stay? Alldaywifi gives you reliable service a tevery cafe, plaza and park by using the mobile internet. Plus it comes with an ‘Allday’ wifi portable battery that’ll keep your devices running(you guessed it…) all day. Of course, if you don’t need three new friends, you can have an Alldaywifi hotspot waiting for you, in all it’s flat-rate, unlimited internet glory, at your hotel, hostel or Airbnb room on check-in.
Like Minaal, Alldaywifi is on a mission to crush travel drag inits own way making each trip more of a vacation and less of a survival ordeal. We loved what they’re doing, so we got co-founder, Erinç to sit down for an interview.
What is Alldaywifi and what problem does it solve?
Alldaywifi solves the lack of internet problem while you are in Turkey, eliminating the hassle of buying a local SIM card and managing to cut it properly for your smart phone as well as waiting for activation. Alldaywifi offers a one-click-connection for all of your devices while you are in Turkey.
How did you discover this need in the market?
We created Alldaywifi after experiencing problems abroad ourselves while travelling but still having to work. Spending just a couple of days traveling in each country with my co-founders Can and Çağrı, on a 45-day roadtrip from Istanbul to Utrecht, Holland was too short to get a SIM card and a data plan would’ve cost me a fortune because of the roaming prices. This was the starting point of our Alldaywifi idea.
In the beginning, I was in touch with travelers who were staying in apartments I manage for my hospitality business, Loca Suites, which was a huge advantage. So I was able to easily figure out what kind of needs my guests had and what they were doing to fulfill their needs.
Last December, I had a couple from Russia, who own a very nice ice-cream shop in Moscow, stay as my guests in one of my apartments. The very first thing they did upon arrival was check-in on Foursquare with a photo of the view from my window.
That was my first sign. The next day, I noticed that they had bought a Turkish SIM card. I asked how much they paid for it in total. It was 29EUR for a 1 GB data plan. They were only staying for 3 days in İstanbul,but they really needed the internet. [Ed.: It can also take up to 40 hours for Turkish SIM cards to be activated, and you can only purchase one per passport]. Exactly at that point I decided we had to solve this problem for travelers in Turkey. If there had been Alldaywifi last December, they would’ve only had to pay 15EUR for an unlimited data plan that they could’ve shared among all of their devices – not to mention saving the time and hassle of the queue and forms they were forced to fill out at the airport to get the SIM.
How are you able to offer this service at an affordable price?
By adopting a service for locals and making it available to travelers coming to Turkey, Alldaywifi can make big yearly deals with local providers and offer the best prices to travelers for shorter terms. We also improved our Alldaywifi Kit content according to our needs. When we say “Allday”, we really mean it. We’ve even taken on the challenge of your smartphone battery and we are there with our solution, a high quality, pocket-sized portable battery is included with each kit.
How long did it take to go from idea to execution?
We decided to establish Alldaywifi in February, and we were ready to offer our full service in May. During this period, I had the chance to build a great team. After that we made deals with local providers, built our webpage, designed our logo and flyers etc. Meanwhile we were able to try out our new service with the guests at my own apartments; we noticed the interest even in this small sample and decided to extend it to all Istanbul.
What has been the biggest challenge in getting started? How did you overcome it?
We are all engineers and until now, we have always been in online business. Although we’ve had a good experience with online marketing tools we decided to focus on building partnerships with hotels “in the real world” to reach our potential customers. That’s why it was time to grab a briefcase, print out some presentations and head to the hotels.
Personally, I can say that even now the biggest challenge for me is taking the first step from the hotel door before I start to talk. Since local suppliers bother hotel managers very often, they treat us as if we are one of those laundries or cleaning supplies sellers, who are trying to offer same service for less each day. In order to avoid this stress of being treated as a sticky salesman, we always try to use even very small connections to have something interesting to say to introduce ourselves. We are a young startup and offering a new and interesting service but no one knows that when they see us entering through the door with a briefcase. This is in general true for business life in Turkey;people do not know much about startups and they find it hard to believe that even in most established sectors like hotels, there is always something new to invent.
What are your plans for Alldaywifi in the future?
First of all, we are willing to be capable of offering Alldaywifi allover Turkey. While this beautiful country has some unique spots in terms of tourism, it has an impressive atmosphere of living for all the people around the world. That’s why each year millions of people visit this land. Considering that smartphones and internet is a part of our lives, we believe that many people would like to have the same efficient access to internet for a reasonable price while they are traveling. For now,our first target group is the 35 million tourists visiting our country each year.
With a vast tourist market and an innovative, truly hassle-free product for people exactly like the regular Minaal user, Alldaywifi certainly has plenty of scope to grow. Expansion across Turkey is a great start. We can only hope they spread quickly into Europe… Africa… South America… well… everywhere! Best of luck guys!