RebelRoam: Business model after 3 pivots

Last year's VUNK accelerator winner RebelRoam acts as a virtual mobile operator for the global transportation and travel industry. One of its founders & CEO Henri Ploom shares some insight of company's background and aspirations. 

Tell us about the inspiration for RebelRoam - what is the story behind it?

We were inspired by the practical problem, that mobile data is expensive abroad. Hence the name, RebelRoam. The initial idea evolved further during the search for a product-market fit. After three pivots last summer, we have found the profitable business model in being a virtual mobile operator for the global transportation and travel industry. The core business idea has remained somewhat same - we help our customers, the coach, rail and ferry operators to save money on mobile data, while providing way better service quality with superb geographical signal coverage.

So far - what has been the most challenging period-problem you have had to face? Has there been anything you’ve been afraid of but turned out just fine?

The most challenging problem was getting to the market quickly enough, in order to avoid excessive external investments. It took us 11 months from initial idea to paying customers. By month 14 we were cash flow positive and profitable, with StartupWiseGuys accelerator as the only external investor.

What are the main goals for RebelRoam for the remaining 2016 / first half of 2017?

Signing up new customers, rolling out new technologies and hiring new team members. Money wise we are looking for tenfold growth in the next 12 months, from 100k monthly recurring revenues to 1 million.

Tell us a little about VUNK accelerator - is it a good place for early stage startups? Would you suggest entering the hackathon to other new founders? Anything to take into account beforehand?

VUNK accelerator has been great for us, especially because we were looking for the insight in telecom industry. All aspiring technology entrepreneurs and savvy job-seekers should participate in the VUNK hackathon. I believe there is no better format to have early validation for the idea and rub shoulders with the like minded people. I strongly suggest to participate in the pre-events and Idea Garages (hint: all winners of the last batch did that).

And the last one - what is your main professional personal goal?

At the moment I need to focus on achieving better work-life balance. Therefore, the goal is to grow our team in order to have much more time for enjoying the life together with my wife and two daughters.