South African startup Tuse, an Android app that tackles connectivity issues by allowing users to create wireless mesh networks, has been selected to take part in the renowned Founders Space accelerator programme in San Francisco in October.
Founded in July, Tuse allows people to create wireless mesh networks using their Wi-Fi-enabled mobile devices. The wireless mesh allows users to send text, transfer data and make phone calls to peers on the created network.
The app is still in public beta with a few hundred users, but the bootstrapped startup has already won a place on the Founders Space accelerator programme in San Francisco. Founders Space accelerates the usual accelerator programme into one month, providing interactive lectures and workshops, thought leadership and mentoring sessions from industry experts, and access to online instructional materials.
Co-founder Sabelo Sibanda told Disrupt Africa the startup would be arriving in San Francisco in October, staying for the duration of the course and for at least two weeks afterwards in order to hold post-demo day meetings, but that it had already seen the benefits of being part of the programme.
“We have been enrolled in their online programme and are already refining our product and the internal workings of our company. We are as a result operating much more efficiently than we ever have and are making more critical decisions with greater accuracy at a much greater speed,” he said.
Sibanda said the benefit of Tuse is that it does not require traditional wireless infrastructure, making it a perfect solution in areas with little or no network coverage.
“Through the success of our previous company, Millbug, we discovered many opportunities to solve problems in the developing world. The most urgent to us, was the lack of reliable communications infrastructure. It really irked us to have good mobile devices that couldn’t be used to network with others, and sought to correct this for ourselves and others,” he said.
The app is distributed through the Google Play store and can also be shared via Bluetooth in cases where users have no internet access.
“The inherent virality of Tuse allows for exponential growth as the network becomes stronger the more people are on it,” Sibanda said.