With $4.3 Million PayJoy Is Ensuring Smartphones Land In The Hands Of The Next 2 Billion
With Project Loon and Internet.org Companies like Google and Facebook are spending hundreds of millions of dollars each to ensure that everyone on the planet has access to the internet, but with a modest $4.3 million in equity and debt the new startup PayJoy is solving an equally important problem — getting actual smartphones into those people’s hands.
Co-founded by Mark Heynen, Doug and Tom Ricket, and Gib Lopez, PayJoy is an attempt to resolve the financing problem faced by the nearly 2 billion people around the world who have access to internet connectivity but currently can’t afford to buy a smartphone.
It’s essentially a credit problem; and it’s one that Doug Ricket first identified in another industry entirely — solar energy. After working with Heynen at Google on the initial Google Maps attempts to digitally map parts of Africa and other emerging markets, Ricket returned to the continent to distribute solar power products in Gambia.
While he was there, he came up with a new system for paying for the projects, which essentially involved setting up installment payment plans for folks who couldn’t afford to pay. The model took off.
Ricket returned to the U.S. and after a stint at Stanford’s business school decided to apply the same model to the problem of smartphone connectivity.