Founded in 2013, BRCK is hoping to drastically increase internet connectivity across Africa. While many tech companies are hoping to develop an internet infrastructure across the continent, BRCK approaches this problem through a portable wi-fi device.
They are a part of Ushahidi, a non-profit software company that develops free and open-source software (LGPL) for information collection, visualisation, and interactive mapping for social justic-related causes–or helping people find more digital information about the world more effectively. With BRCK, the founders are hoping to further their cause in giving more people internet access in almost any scenario.
The BRCK works like a cellphone and is able to hop between Ethernet, Wi-Fi and 3G or 4G. It gains connectivity through a standard SIM card and/or Ethernet or WiFi connections that works in 140+ countries. It also provides about eight hours of battery life, crucial during Africa’s frequent power blackouts. This can potentially assist millions of Africans who often experience constant unreliable connectivity in their area. It also comes with an external GSM antenna port to help users that are at the edge of the signal range continue with connectivity.
In addition, the BRCK connects to the BRCK Cloud, described as a “website that you can access from anywhere to check how network connections and electricity are performing on your device. You can also manage alerts and applications remotely from your phone or computer, as well as gather data reported from attached sensors or computers.” It also comes with an available API where users can write their own custom software, and an upgradeable 4GB of memory on board that can be synced to Dropbox along with other connected devices and applications.
Ushahidi describes the BRCK “like a backup generator for the internet.” It is extremely small, and designed to be the easiest possible networking device to set up. Once operating, it provides a fast speed of enterprise-level 802.11 b/g/n router with a 10/100Mbps WAN/LAN Port that can connect up to 20 devices with a WiFi signal that can cover several rooms. The product build itself has a tough exterior durability meant to last in harsh environments, and can sustain drops, dust and weather resistance, and dirty voltage charging.
Since 2013, BRCK has sold the product in 54 countries across 5 continents.
- Company: BRCK
- Started: 2013
- Total VC Funding: $4.2 million
- HQ: Nairobi, Kenya
- Linkedin Employee Count: 23
- Co-founders: Reg Orton (CTO), Jon Shuler , Philip Walton (COO), Erik Hersman (CEO)
- Product: Mobile Wi-Fi Device