Earlier this month Keepgo, a Tel Aviv-based mobile data roaming startup operating globally, announced its first venture funding round: $1.3 million at an undisclosed valuation. The capital was brought in by IMI.vc and AltaIR, two Russian funds backed by serial entrepreneurs Igor Matsanyuk and Igor Ryabenkiy.
Keepgo presents itself as a mobile data operator with global coverage at local prices. The worldwide mobile data roaming market now reaches $40 billion per year, according to a Jupiter Research estimate cited by the Israeli startup.
Keepgo provides everyday travelers with a SIM card preloaded with a data bundle for the traveler’s selected destination, while corporate clients benefit from customized data roaming plans for multiple devices. Keepgo also offers a mobile app to manage international data plans on the go.
Users of the Keepgo SIM card cannot receive regular voice calls, however, since Keepgo manages only data. “But you can put our SIM card in a MIFI modem and then receive regular voice calls while accessing cheap Internet abroad,” Keepgo CEO David Lipovkov explained to East-West Digital News. “You can also put our SIM card into any data device, like an iPad or another tablet.”
“A game-changing technology”
Acting as an aggregator of mobile carriers, Keepgo purchases data from network carriers around the world. It has also developed a web and mobile software platform that provides integration into carrier networks on the backend and standard API/UI at the front end, Lipovkov says.
“Last but not least, we have developed a game-changing technology for over-the-air data plan delivery which allows seamless connectivity for any gadget across 400+ mobile carriers,” the entrepreneur claims.
Keepgo started in 2009 under the name iPhoneTrip.com. It was co-founded by David Lipovkov and Guy Sbarsky, two entrepreneurs from the former Soviet Union who made their way in the Israeli and US high-tech industries.
The company reached breakeven by 2011 and generated $3 million in revenues last year, Lipovkov said – mainly in Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA, with Russia to date still a lesser market.
Keepgo now has a team of 20 full-time employees and offices in four countries.