We’re living in exciting times, where given the nature of the social media landscape, there are lots of opportunities for innovation. It became clear that Wahooly lives and breathes this reality.
So, it was my pleasure to interview Dana Severson, founder of Wahooly. He’s a game changer, so enjoy!
Q: Can you give me your 2-minute pitch on what Wahooly is all about?
Wahooly provides socially-connected individuals the opportunity to earn equity in potentially 100′s of startup’s by leveraging their influence. In essence, we’re helping to monetize a Klout score. On the flip side, we’re providing startups with a group of initial-users who will both use and promote their business in return for a small percentage of equity.
You can think of us as a new twist on a VC firm. Instead of offering capital for equity, we’re providing major momentum. Money will only last so long, but Wahooly is the gift that keeps on giving. We’re all in it together. If the startup fails, we all fail.
Our algorithm tracks our users activity with each startup. It tracks their ability to influence their peers as well as their own involvement with each startup. In that sense, we’re very much like Klout. For startups, we’re helping them get off the ground with group support, just as Kickstarter does. Finally, Wahooly will evaluate each and every startup that we bring to our users. We’re looking to support the startups that have potential and will be negotiating the terms with each one individually. We’re more of the Mark Cuban of Shark Tank.
Q: Who should be getting excited about Wahooly & why?
Anyone that has been using a social media platform to communicate with their peers should find Wahooly an exciting prospect. Most people, at one point or another, have expressed an opinion online about a brand. That’s free promotion of the greatest kind—word of mouth.
This is the new economy, where individuals can have as much influence as a media outlet. It’s time that we get compensated for our efforts.
On the other hand, one of the biggest challenges that startups face is awareness. Before a startup can even think about raising capital, they need to prove themselves in the market. It’s truly a double-edge sword.
Wahooly is a solving a big problem for startups—momentum. In that regard, startups should be just as excited about this platform. This isn’t just a one-day media blitz, this is a campaign that continues on. We all have a vested interest in seeing them succeed.
Q: What are some milestones that Wahooly is aiming to accomplish in both the short & long-term?
We’re currently in Alpha, with a proposed Beta launch of January 2012. At that point, we’ll be introducing 200 startups to our initial class of 25,000 registered Wahooly users. At the same time, we’ll be introducing new programs that expand on our basic model.
One of the ideas we’re toying with at the moment is a marketplace within Wahooly, that allows users to trade shares amongst each other. At some point, it’s possible that shares can be redeemed for merchandise, etc. There are a ton of possibilities that we’re exploring, but the first step is to get the Beta up and running.