BluPoint – providing digital content to off-grid low resource communities

Today’s blog introduces BluPoint, a start-up which has already devoted much time and money to the development of its primary product, a unit that stores digital content, such as information, music and video, and makes it available to mobile phones by Bluetooth or Wifi. Blupoint came about as a result of founder Dr Mike Santer’s experiences in Sub Saharan Africa. He noticed that mobile phone ownership was widespread, even amongst the poorest communities, and hunger for content was extreme, with many users freely admitting that they would rather buy airtime than eat.

Dr Santer has so far developed a working desk based prototype unit, which is solar powered, extremely robust, and can be set up in the remotest areas. The initial aim is simply to provide content to users, be it healthcare advice, educational materials, or music, sports, and other leisure-focused content. In the future, they intend to develop other applications, which might include localised commerce. Primarily focused on providing services to the developing world, Blupoint will also be marketed to developed countries where expressions of interest have been received from schools, health clinics, government offices and national governments.

– Why did you decide to apply to the Catalyst Centre?

We know we have a great concept; what we need now is the support, mentoring and business expertise to help us get it off the ground commercially. The Catalysts Centre opportunity popped up at just the right time, and I was encouraged by Alan Scrase from SETsquared and my PhD supervisor, Dr Gary Wills from The University of Southampton to apply for the programme following the completion of my PhD.

– How did your pitch go? What did you learn from the judges on the day?

Well I think it went well, it must have, because I’m here! The questions asked by the judges were insightful and helped draw out the areas where the Catalyst programme would be of great assistance to my business.

– What are you hoping to achieve during your time at the Catalyst Centre?

In the 6 months that BluPoint is part of the Catalyst programme, I want to refine this business idea; both from a technical view point, so we’ll be working on the tech specs for it; and also from an investor viewpoint, so that we can then stand before investors at some point during the 6 months. We’re hoping to get to the point where we are able to secure the next round of funding that will enable us to create small pilots. We’re looking at India and Africa as the two key markets for this.