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Wirate

Wirate

The rating agency after the digital revolution.


Developping business for Finance Up in 2013/2014, I tried to meet with as much as business angels as possible. That's how I met the person who was going to be my next cofounder.

We met in late 2013, and began to exchange feedback on how difficult was the task of asserting the good and bad qualities of a startup before investing. He faced this problem in his Business Angels club, and I was facing it with my crowd-investing platform. After few meetings, we had an idea to solve this problem: why not asking a global and open community to give their opinion on a startup, gathering all the feedback, and using algorithm to establish a rating? Then, this rating (or crowd-rating) could be used by investors in their decision process, and by entrepreneurs to improve their product or service.

This is how Wirate was born. We incorporated the company in May 2015, and manage to raise €100k from 7 private investors with nothing but the idea (this is extremely rare in France). This time, the headquarters were located in Paris, which is a far better place than Amiens to launch a startup, as you can imagine ;-). With the money raised, we built a bêta version of the platform, and launched officially in September 2015. My primary role has been product management and growth from the beginning.

This first months were encouraging, the growth in active users and startups registered was about +10% per month. The main issue was the technical aspect of the project: I hesitated to take care of the developpment for releasing the MVP, but eventually we decided to outsource everything... which was a mistake. The growth began to slow down 6 to 12 months later, and the product developpement was way too slow to release the important features needed to boost our active users base. I propose myself to change my position and take the role of the CTO, but my cofounder disagree, and from that moment (Q2 2016) my biggest challenge was to find the person who would jump in the venture with us at the CTO position. Due to this growth slow-down, our project of begining to monetize the service in late 2016 had to be postponed: we didn't want to fragilize a growth that wasn't strong enough.

I had the chance to meet with Jo and Alex from GAANDC in 2016, and I convinced them to join the team: Jo as the CTO, Alex as VP of partnership. We close our deal in summer 2016. A personal matter gave me the opportunity to move from France to Dallas, Texas, and I couldn't refuse. The last months of 2016 were used to build a small team able to do the work I did in Paris, without me being here anymore.

We released the V2 in March 2017, and the journey continue, even with me beeing at 10 000km from the rest of the team... I try to help the project moving forward by acting as the Product Manager. It's certainly a difficulty because of the distance, but the project is worth the challenge!

Again, if this project is far from over (we could even say "at the inception"!), I can surely begin to list all the things I've learned working on it:

  • Do not outsource product developpment when you work on a technological startup
  • The team is definititely the most important asset of any project. Really. A lack of core skill, or a non-alignment between key people will almost certainly be lethal. 



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