It happens way too often and strangely enough there isn’t an app that is fixing this problem head on. What are we talking about? We are talking about when a friend, a mentor, or even an ad recommends something and you resort to opening up Notes on your phone knowing full well that it will get lost in the shuffle; the recommendation gone forever. Wigeon allows you to record the recommendation in a centralized repository; be it a movie, a song, or a product, and it also links with the music, movie, or online marketplace so that you can take action right away. The Wigeon tool is only growing in its capabilities and is making a strong case for being on the first page of your home screen ASAP as a media platform.
We chatted with Cofounder and CEO Maxwell Troop about the company and what makes it stand out amidst the competition.
Tell us about the product or service.
A recommendation from those you trust is the best way to discover something new. How do you remember the restaurants, movies, songs and books your friends, colleagues and family suggest? An email gets lost in the shuffle, your notes app is not actionable, and sticky notes create nothing but clutter. That’s why we made Wigeon, your personal media platform.
Wigeon is reinventing the way we share, organize, and discover. Our goal is to give a user the entire recommendation process is one platform. Connect with your friends and exchange, organize, and try out recommendations in one convenient place. You can even send recommendations directly to yourself to bookmark something that you want to remember. Our platform gives users a way to keep everything highly organized so you never lose track of great recommendations and takes it a step further by connecting to services like iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, OpenTable, Yelp, Amazon, and so forth so users can easily try out a recommendation.
How is it different?
A recommendation is something personal. It’s a bond between two people over a shared interest. Other apps in this space are built around the idea of following people and “trend setters”. You are expected to follow someone to see the music they like, not what they know you will like based on your tastes and interests. The system is impersonal and fails to address the major pain point of disorganization.
Wigeon is designed around the direct exchange of recommendations. When you know your best friend is going to love the song that just played, you don’t post it to a feed! You tell them directly. Our platform emulates the real world behavior that drives the recommendation process and solves the pain point of disorganization.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Wigeon is useful to a wide range of demographics. We all have a natural desire to share the things we love with others so they can experience the same. People of all ages and demographics make recommendations to their friends, family, co-workers, and so on. However, in the early stages we are targeting individuals in the age range of 18-35 who are avid consumers of media such as movies, TV shows, music, books, restaurants, bars. More importantly, those who love keeping up with and sharing the latest new trends within these forms of media. Our goal is to gain traction in this demographic.
What is the business model?
Early stage sources of revenue will center on affiliate programs along with some other strategic partnerships that are in the works. We are also playing around the idea of a premium version with enhanced features that users can subscribe to for a nominal cost. However, our primary goal for 2016 is creating an amazing user experience, establishing our brand identity, and steady user growth.
What inspired the business?
Wigeon is inspired by personally experiencing the pain point we are hoping to solve and finding no solution. After coming home from Christmas vacation in early 2015 I realized my inbox was flooded with emails sent from myself… to myself (we have since coined this “the selfie email”). Emails such as, “Check out the band Kings of Leon”, “Go to restaurant XYZ”, and “watch the TV show Peaky Blinders (its on Netflix)”. My method of trying to keep track of recommendations was quickly emailing myself the details. The problems with this are glaring. The process is unorganized, not actionable, scattered, and annoying. After a lengthy search and discovering no suitable alternative we set out to build that which he had been searching for.
Why another recommendation platform?
We decided to build another recommendation because we feel that at the foundation Wigeon is different from any other. Other apps in this space are built around the idea of following people in order to discover something new. This is impersonal and not reflective of the way the recommendation process takes place in reality. Moreover, organization it key. We wanted to build something that combines the personal nature of giving and receiving a suggestion with the utility of having one place to organize them all. Unlike others, we also give users features like reminders, direct chat system, ability to follow vs. connect (see activity in your feed vs. ability to actually exchange suggestions), an enhanced iOS share feature, and much more to come.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Within the next six months the milestones we hope to achieve are three fold: product, partnership and user growth.
1) In addition to an incremental product improvement strategy for our existing iOS app we plan on launching a web application equipped with a widget so that you can save and share content while browsing.
2) We have laid the groundwork for a strategy to partner with small businesses/individuals whose practices/behavior can benefit from our platform. The goal is to locate those experiencing the painpoint and introduce them to the solution.
3) Sustainable user growth!
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Firstly, learn the art of leaning into a problem. Nothing is ever perfect so learn to embrace an obstacle, overcome it, and learn from your experience. Secondly, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” No matter how carefully you plan, strategize, or schedule obstacles will most certainly get in the way and throw you off course. You have to stay agile, flexible and positive.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Dao Nguyen, Publisher at Buzzfeed. This might seem like an odd choice, but for us at Wigeon it makes perfect sense. While Dao’s title is Publisher, she is a developer at heart who is passionate about data. The impact Dao has made at Buzzfeed is impressive. Much of that impact stems from her understanding of the importance of data. Not just running through numbers but understanding the human interactions
Why did you launch in New York?
J-E-T-S! Just kidding…We live in NYC so from a logistical standpoint the choice was simple. Beyond that NYC is a perfect place to start a company. It has been an entrepreneurial hotbed since its earliest days and is the capital for some of the world’s largest and most influential industries. Moreover, the recent startup boom in NYC has brought a plethora of successful VC shops, incubators, meetup communities, and all the other factors for a great startup community.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Ryan’s Daughter, 85th and 1st. It’s the definition of a local watering hole. In a city filled with every type of drinking establishment under the sun it can be hard to find a plain old-fashioned pub where you can enjoy a pint, chat with a friendly bartender, shoot a game of pool, or simply enjoy the atmosphere. Bonuses are free bags of chips, you can order food to the bar, AND there is a fireplace upstairs if you’re looking for a cozy pint on a winter night.