23-year-old Patrick Clover, who lives in Edinburgh, founded WiFi provider Blackbx just under a year ago and has already watched it grow to employ four staff and provide its service to 60 networks.
Blackbx is unique in that it offers free WiFi to the public and at the same time gathers a high detail of customer information for the client.
Patrick has recently been awarded his biggest contract to date - providing WiFi for the shopping centre in London’s Victoria Station - allowing 17,500 people to surf the net for free each month.
“Even when I was at school, I was a bit of tinker,” explains Patrick, “When I was 15 I started up a website selling licenses to Apple software and that started to make a lot of money.”
Despite his entrepreneurial flare, Patrick, who had an unconventional upbringing - at one point living on a boat for two years - failed to get into university after he left school.
He said: “When I left school I didn’t get into university, but I knew I had a knack for making things that made money.”
After working for four years managing wi-fi networks, Patrick found that by listening to his clients he was able to identify a gap in the market.
He set up Blackbx, and working from his bedroom developed a type of wi-fi technology that allows customers to log in, and on return, remain logged in, saving both hassle and time.
Critically, consumer data, including gender, age and location of those using the service can be collected, allowing BLACKBX clients to gain insights into its customers, including demographics and popular times of use.
In the first three months he took on 25 new clients and now employs four staff at his Edinburgh office.
Winning the wi-fi contract for London’s Victoria station has been his biggest business coup to date.
Patrick said: “Nowadays, we are increasingly seeing people use their tablets and smartphones on their daily commute, so being able to make the often busy, and stressful journeys, that bit easier, is great.
“Winning contracts like Victoria Station at such an early stage in my company’s life, is just fantastic, and testament to the success of the technology so far.
“Hopefully we see a few more large contracts this year, and continue to make it easier for businesses to provide what the customer wants and boost their own revenue at the same time.”
In the first month of the contract beginning, 17,600 people logged-in via the BLACKBX system, 27,000 times.
“Ideally I would like Blackbx to become the Uber of infrastructure,” he added
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