Not everyone has the money to invest in a startup (or the balls to found one), so Wahooly is set up to let users provide feedback to startups in exchange for becoming a shareholder in the company.
Founded by Minneapolis-based entrepreneur Dana Severson, Wahooly will leverage its network of users which it just started building following the launch and match them with startups looking to boost their alpha and beta stages with feedback from active users. The testers Wahooly delivers are more likely to promote that startups on social networks and give feedback because doing so means a larger share of the company.
"We represent our investors (users) and we're making decisions on startups that are in our investors' best interest...Wahooly and the users that are participating in each startup have a vested interest in seeing it succeed," Dana tells LAUNCH. "Why? We cash out when our shares are bought, the company goes public or it's bought out. We get nothing if the company fails. Rather than having a single VC breathing down your neck looking for growth, we provide a team of people who are helping to move the needle."
A serial entrepreneur himself, Severson always wanted to invest and create multiple startup companies, but as a man with a wife a kids he needed the stability of a full-time job, which may have held him back from getting involved in other startups, Wahooly addresses his own need.
Wahooly users have access to a personal dashboard where they can track the startups they've opted in to helping and see the latest news, product releases and their primary contacts. Wahooly tracks each user's activity on social media networks and tracks their level of engagement with the company and promotion.
"Think of it as a Klout score with ad tracking built in," Dana says. "We consider ourselves an untraditional VC."
Wahooly has started signing up testers. The first 25K people who sign up will receive shares in Wahooly itself, which it hopes to have secured by Dec. 31. To sign up users must have social media accounts.
The company is not currently soliciting startups to participate in Wahooly, but Dana says that more than 36 companies have already contacted him.
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