INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
The Latin American Startup that Helped People Stay Online during the Pandemic
Charvel Chedraui of RedFenix tells us about the global network of decentralized internet hotspots.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Charvel Chedraui: Thanks a lot for asking this before anything else. We are all in good health and getting used to this new normal. I have an uncle who is a Doctor, he got Covid early during the pandemic, and thankfully he recovered 100% and is back working at the hospital. The rest of my family haven’t had Covid, thankfully.
My wife and I work from home. Even before that, I worked remotely most of the time. My Co-Founder, Anton Ulyanov, is from Russia and lives there, so we were already used to this type of collaboration. The rest of my family is trying to adapt to the new standard of remote work, trying new hobbies, and following the health and security guidelines.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded RedFenix.
Charvel Chedraui: I am CEO and Co-Founder of RedFenix. I am 33 years old, born in Ecuador, and lived in the US from 2003 to 2008. I studied business and architecture.
I am a Vegan and activist for Animal rights. I have a YouTube channel and Instagram accounts for vegan recipes and lifestyle. @animalclub.vegan
I like skateboarding which I often do with my high school friends, and I also train Muay Thai by myself at home. I recently learned animal communication via meditation and telepathy. My next hobby is learning juggling, which will help me improve and develop other types of skills and abilities.
I am a resilient person and entrepreneur. I have dedicated the last 8 years of my life to telecommunications trying to solve connectivity problems in many different ways, specifically lack of access for most people in emerging countries. I worked as regional Wi-Fi marketing director for a multinational company, managing teams in over 6 countries connecting over 50 million people. This gave me key insights into the vast opportunity that we have to fix a real-world problem. I am a natural-born leader. From a very young age, I started solving problems coming up with innovative solutions leading people in the way, starting with my family and friends, then my peers or teachers at school, and in every job I’ve had and now my team.
My co-founder and I met in 2018 via Lab website co-founders. We were both members of this site, and I posted this opportunity about RedFenix, and Anton was interested. A couple of video calls later, we met in person and started working together. We now manage everything remotely since Anton is in Russia. I started this company because we believe in a connected world, and today more and more people rely on this service not available to everyone.
How does RedFenix innovate?
Charvel Chedraui: RedFenix is a collaborative Wi-Fi network. Our solution allows people, businesses, and ISPs to make money sharing the internet with their community, and mobile users connect for FREE on all shared networks using our mobile app.
We reuse existing infrastructure to create an open and free internet access network via Wi-Fi.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Charvel Chedraui: We actually launched during the pandemic because we saw the need for access to the internet more than ever. Since we found we have connected thousands of people to the internet.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Charvel Chedraui: Yes, we always have to make difficult decisions. We at RedFenix know firsthand and always keep the focus on the core problem, which lies in a nutshell – people need to be connected. This drives all our product and business decisions.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Charvel Chedraui: I meditate every day. I started gardening on my terrace during the pandemic, and I have had home-grown tomatoes for about 6 months.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Charvel Chedraui: Right now, we have competition like IUNGO or AMMBR; both rely on a token and solve only some consequences of the big problem, like a token-based platform or a fancy mesh device. In the end, they are solving just a small piece of the real issue which again is lack of connectivity.
Your final thoughts?
Charvel Chedraui: Technology and infrastructure have brought the internet to every place on Earth, but people don’t have a solid way to access it. The internet is the ONE single thing that has changed the world more than anything else in the history of mankind. Providing people access to a global network can make changes in their lives so huge that it is hard to predict.
RedFenix’s vision is to become the standard of internet connectivity everywhere. We believe that the basis of today’s society is information, and the internet is an infinite library that is not currently available to everyone. RedFenix envisions a future where everyone is connected to the internet everywhere.
RedFenix is the Telecom of the future, starting with Wi-Fi because we know there is no lack of connectivity; it’s simply trapped.
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