Ever wondered how we came to be or how we differentiate ourselves from other mobile messaging platforms? Maybe you want to know about how we got our funding or what our plans are for the future?
Recently our CEO Simone La Torre was interviewed by Roxana from "Luxembourg Times" to answer all your questions! You can find the article here by signing up for free.
You can find a short recap of the comprehensive interview below!
Wafer, the young Luxembourg-based startup released its messaging app Wafer Messenger just six months ago in a first attempt to disrupt the market of mobile messaging applications. Luxembourg Times sat down with co-founder and CEO Simone La Torre, to discuss Wafer’s inception, its progression and its plans for the future.
Luxembourg Times: What is Wafer Messenger and what makes it different from other messaging applications like WhatsApp or Viber?
Simone La Torre: Wafer Messenger is the first messaging application of its kind as it introduces and combines two groundbreaking concepts: Endless Creativity and Limitless Reach.
Endless Creativity gives you the possibility to merge up to six types of media into a message. Rather than pushing you to text, like all other chat apps do, we are actually giving you a white canvas in which you can do as you wish. We are talking about having the opportunity to combine sketches, text, stickers, photos, audio files and videos. This allows you to create content impossible to replicate on any other mobile platform. Hence, the name: Endless Creativity.
We’ve called the second concept Limitless Reach because when you use Wafer you have the power to reach all your contacts in your phone for free. Even those who don’t have Wafer downloaded yet. Let me elaborate: If want to chat with someone who has Wafer downloaded, it will feel as easy as if you were using any regular chat app.
But if you want to send a message to a contact who doesn’t have Wafer, after you have composed your message, the app will take you to a screen where it will say it has created a link to the conversation, which you can then send via SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, Skype or even email if you want. When the recipient clicks on the link, he or she will be able to not only see the message, but can also reply without needing to download the app or register on Wafer. Here we have seen that after a few messages back and forth, most people choose to download the app!
Right now we have more than 600.000 installs, and the beauty of this, is that, within our platform these people are connected to all of their contacts. More than 40 million in total! This is the virtue of Limitless Reach - it gives you the possibility to send messages to those who don’t have the app.
LT: How did the business idea behind Wafer start?
SLT: Wafer was started thanks to friends who believed in the project and a handful of investors. It took almost one year to refine the idea and two years of development to build the app. Before Wafer, I founded three companies and with the acquired experience and network of investors I was capable of putting the idea over time together with my friend and co-founder Robert Llanes, and we decided to give it a go with Wafer.
We got two investment rounds. The first one in 2015 was for €140,000 and allowed us to develop the idea further and hire developers to build the first version of the app.
In April 2017, we closed the post-seed investment round at €800,000, which has allowed us to grow the team and develop the app for real-world deployment.
LT: Why did you establish your headquarters in Luxembourg?
SLT: As co-founders we were both working and got to meet each other at SES, which is located in Luxembourg. Another more strategic reason is that Luxembourg provides fertile soil for entrepreneurship and business, in terms of access to funds, governmental support and incubators that are available. I have tested out Italy, France, the Netherlands - Luxembourg is by far the best.
LT: What are Wafer's main markets?
SLT: Brazil, India and the Benelux are our main markets. Brazil and India because statistically they are huge markets where people are open to download new apps and try out new things. On the other hand Benelux is very important for us because our HQ is here. While we have three offices, the main expansion will happen here.
LT: What is your target audience?
SLT: The ideal audience we want to reach are 16-34 year olds. The reason why we are focusing on that and why we will even slightly expand it in the near future is because users in that age group are the most receptive to trying new platforms.
Our desire is to expand a the age group a bit to slightly over 34, because we have seen that in other markets such as South America and Asia, that the user base that has the characteristics of the 16-34 year olds based in Europe is slightly wider.
LT: How is the app going to generate money in future?
SLT: Right now, the app doesn't have monetisation features because we need to grow the user base before integrating them.
The app will integrate a variety of markets – music, games, payment solutions, all focused on offering value to our users. We are not going to have in-app purchases – you will not be able to buy a new button, a new colour or a sticker, like Viber does. Our income is mostly going to originate from B2B deals.
We don’t want to milk our users, we want to build around them, so that they get the ultimate value out of using Wafer. Our app is possibly the only messaging application on the market that doesn't do data mining. We protect our user’s privacy. There is no data mining whatsoever.
LT: Who do you see as your direct competitors?
SLT: In principle, all the messaging applications out there: WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber, Skype, Snapchat. In reality, we don’t consider them as competitors but for now we look to complement what they offer.
If you look at Brazil, for example, people are using 9-25 chat-apps at the same time. Twenty-five messaging apps on your phone. That means, for them, downloading the 26th is a breeze. If we manage to give them a product that offers value, that is better, we will be successful.
LT: How do you plan to develop the app in future?
SLT: We are going to transition from the concept of instant messaging, which is what Wafer is now and what everything else is today, into another concept that we define as "live collaboration". What we want is the possibility for the users to be able to interact more and more.
We are also in discussion with Luxinnovation right now for getting access to public support when we close the round. In addition to that, in Luxembourg, we have a number of established companies we can speak to for partnerships for future market integrations.