40. Fon

Dual-access Wi-Fi networks

Martin Varsavsky, CEO of Fon
Source: Fon
Martin Varsavsky, CEO of Fon

Founder: Martin Varsavsky (CEO)
Date launched:
2006
Funding:
$71.7 million
Industries disrupted:
Mobile, Telecom, Tech Hardware
Disrupting: CISCO Systems, Comcast, Verizon
Competition: Comcast, Kumu Networks, Kymeta

Madrid-based Fon is a good example of what's come to be known as the sharing economy. The company sells a hotspot device called the Fonera for $49. It allows customers to share a bit of their private Wi-Fi connection with other Fon users. In turn, those customers get to use the shared bandwidth on other people's Fonera routers for free.

Founder and CEO Martin Varsavsky built the company on the belief that consumers will want to move about and still have access to secure, free hotspots.

Read More FULL LIST: 2014 CNBC DISRUPTOR 50

The company recently signed a deal with Facebook so that users can share their Wi-Fi with Facebook friends.

So far, the company has 12 million hotspots around the world and has signed strategic partnerships with leading telecom companies in Europe, Brazil, South Africa and Japan, among others. Last September, Fon entered the U.S. market through a partnership with AT&T.

On the company's disruptive impact:

"Since the beginning of FON, we have all believed in the idea of sharing, especially in the willingness of citizens to participate in building something important that would benefit everyone ... without limitations, anytime, anywhere." -Martin Varsavsky, founder and CEO

Technology

  • Sony headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.

    Sony has launched a crowdfunding site to finance employees' ideas, in a bid to bring back innovation to the Japanese electronics giant.

  • The Uber app on an iPhone in New York.

    Uber targeted its customers to protest outside New York City Council Tuesday as a bill stands to cap for-hire vehicles.

  • National Security Agency building in Fort Meade, Md.

    A court ruled on Monday that the NSA may temporarily resume its once-secret program that collects records of Americans' domestic phone calls.

Latest Special Reports

  • CNBC's ninth annual study measures all 50 states on more than 60 different metrics.

  • Waitress tablet

    Trailblazers leveraging the power of technology and innovation to grow their business—and disrupt the competition.

  • Advisor-centric content with guest columns covering practice management, investment strategies and marketing/social media.