Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pedaled Phone Calls: A BOP Startup

Brian Forde and Edgard Cruz are business partners who founded Llamadas Heladas, a national chain of 22 call shops across Nicaragua. They are now embarking on a new venture, Llamadas Pedaleadas, or Pedaled Phone Calls, a bicycle-pedaled mobile cart with public telephones on board.

According to Mr. Forde, "The one essential thing that a cell phone has that a call shop doesn't is a battery, so using parts found in a junk yard we created a constantly recharging battery by pedal power. Electricity is generated as the person is traveling to his destination, if the battery runs low at the destination he can drop the kick stand and start cycling in place. Generating electricity from pedaling allows us to travel to the central park, a remote town or a big festival increasing access to inexpensive telephony anywhere. "

"Because this bike is built for the developing world we had to use parts that could be easily found. To generate the electricity we used an old car alternator that sends the electricity generated to a car battery. The electricity stored in the battery is accessed by an old computer UPS to convert the electricity to 110V. Our goal with this bike is to create a ready made business for local entrepreneurs and to increase access to affordable telephony for bottom of the pyramid (BOP) customers."

BOP entrepreneurs Forde and Cruz expect to begin producing Pedaled Phone Calls carts this month and sell them to aspiring business owners in Nicaragua. Watch a video of their prototype below.


Terri said...

How are the phones connected? I'm assuming they are not on the grid.

Brian said...

The phones are connected to "fixed cellular terminals" basically cell phones with a phone jack.

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