Cloud4Wi was founded in 2013 by Andrea Calcagno and Davide Quadrini, with Calcagno as the CEO. The company is based in San Francisco, and has offices in London, New York, Paris, Milan, Rome, Pisa and Manila. The company has worked with a vision to create a world where Cloud4Wi is the market leading WiFi analytics and marketing platform.
Cloud4Wi has worked with Telecom Italia the Italian incumbent operator, and has developed a carrier-grade platform to easily manage guest WiFi services for their customers and build potential revenue source. After extensive research, the company realized that nothing existed in the market that could satisfy the demands of Telecom Italia, so it decided to build a solution itself. That was in fact, the founding stone of Cloud4Wi.
On a larger scale, Cloud4Wi has worked with top brands like Prada, making it their first global deployment. The company’s Volare platform was rolled out to about 500 of Prada stores. There was an initial apprehension by the IT team at Prada. But Cloud4Wi’s platform is easy to scale and use, that eventually made the roll out quick and easy.
The result was a big success with customer satisfaction, especially from Asian tourists who clicked pictures in-store and used guest WiFi to upload them on social media. Cloud4Wi’s technology was also used to count the number of shoppers who visit a store, thus expanding further business goals.
With the solutions that Cloud4Wi built, its founders raised Series A funding with United Ventures, a European venture capitalist company, which helped it to develop a powerful and robust WiFi marketing and analytics platform. Later in 2016, the company raised a convertible note from Opus Capital and United Ventures, which has been a key in helping it to establish a larger, more global presence.
The company’s prime product, Volare, has been offering brick-and-mortar businesses build their brands by leveraging their existing WiFi networks to provide superior on-site mobile experiences, while gaining valuable customer insights. Volare is an open cloud-based platform distributed through channel partners, which connects more than 65 million mobile users across 15,000 locations in more than 80 countries.
Guest WiFi allows fast and easy login, along with collection of customer data and an ability to build unique opt-in marketing lists. Other capabilities include WiFi Analytics and WiFi Marketing, which collects insight into customers and enrich their profiles with actionable on-premise information and engage customers in a meaningful way and improve their experience across multiple channels.
The company has been around for a couple of years now. Their tight-knit, family-like work environment and hard-working employees have contributed tremendously to its success. Other factors like an established core team that’s been building wireless platforms for over 10 years is one of its biggest asset. With a start-up mentality where all employees enjoy working together, along with dedicated understanding and knowledge of customer needs have contributed to the success.
Cloud4Wi has visionary and innovative people working to keep its customers happy. The company constantly shares its goals with employees to help them understand the important role each one is playing to achieve it. Cloud4Wi believes that the company’s most valuable employees are the ones who are proactive. And hence, it encourages employees to share ideas and find answers and do what they want.
This in turn brings out the passion in employees. It helps them to explore new worlds and discover their talents. Cloud4Wi says that proactive employees, “don’t wait for someone to hand them an instruction manual and a box of tools; they’re resourceful.”
However, there are certain challenges that every start-up faces. For Cloud4Wi, it had a difficult time closing deals with big-name brands. But with constant persistence, it has a notable customer base today. In today’s tech-driven world, fierce competition is met at every corner. But Cloud4Wi has changed the way by learning and understanding its competitors’ offerings and what potential customers’ deciding factors are.
Apart from these, the company faced challenge in global expansion and addressing market needs. Another difficulty was in finding the right kind of people who could join the team. The company required the kind of people who wouldn’t sit around waiting for answers to appear, but those who would stand up, put one foot in front of the other and find the answers.
In the global market-driven world of today, it is not only difficult to start a venture, but even harder to maintain it. When Cloud4Wi was established, it had a set of vision and goals, but the journey to this was chaotic. The company had to sacrifice a lot. But now, it has a better grasp of how to control and embrace all the chaos, and the company has been working hard to keep striving towards its vision.
Ultimately, Cloud4Wi has one major goal and this is to have a successful outcome. The company wants to be able to reward the investors who believed in it, the hard working employees, and also the founders who took the risk of starting the venture.
Meet the master
Andrea Calcagno is the CEO and co-founder of Cloud4Wi. He has a background in marketing, technology, and economics and holds a master’s degree (summa cum laude) in telecommunications engineering from the University of Pisa. With an experience in the media-telecom industry and a focus on next-generation networks and services, Calcagno has also played key roles in several innovative Italian start-ups. Prior to Cloud4Wi, he founded WiTech, a spin-off from the University of Pisa in 2003.
“The most valuable employees are the ones who are proactive.”