Nigerian startup BeepTool, which manufactures satellites and sells smartphones that allow rural users to access the web using a mobile application in areas its satellites cover, has raised funding from inventor and entrepreneur Ndubuisi Ekekwe.
BeepTool has developed the Oyi-1 affordable smartphone for rural and low-income Nigerians to help them access digital finance, health, education and communication services.
The smartphone and included app connect to BeepTool’s own satellites, which are engineered to serve largely small geographical areas, such as individual villages. Building on this connectivity are services such as telehealth solution Lafiya and fintech platform mNaira.
BeepTool has now secured an undisclosed amount of funding from Ekekwe, a well-known inventor and entrepreneur who, among other things, is the founder of West African embedded systems company First Atlantic Semiconductors and Microelectronics, co-chairman of financial advisory firm JPL Financial Group, and a selection board member of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme.
Ekweke, who has also joined the startup’s board of directors, has been working with BeepTool founder John Enoh for the last few months and has decided to invest his own funds in the company.
“Our vision for this company is to take the services which Nigerians in urban areas are enjoying to rural communities. To do that, we have to create a connectivity system supported by services. The Nigerian regulators and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) are all licensing or have licensed critical BeepTool technologies,” said Ekweke.