Startup of the Day – Whaboo

The BizSpark startup of the day is Whaboo, based in Netherlands. You will find below an interview with Jorge Martins, founder of Whaboo. All the best to them and congrats for being the startup of the day!


Interview with Jorge Martins, founder of Whaboo

Tell us who you are and your role in the company:

My name is Jorge Martins, founder of Whaboo. With my fellow partners, I developed the concept, and have been responsible for building and promoting Whaboo, obtaining funding and much more since we started in late 2008.

What did you do before creating your company?

I was working as a manager at an IT consultancy firm, involved in projects for a number of major companies such as France Telecom, Orange, Orascom and T-Mobile.

How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?

It’s an honour. Kind of like "That's one small step for Microsoft, a giant leap for Whaboo". Except I’m not wearing a spacesuit…

What is your company’s mission?

We want to put some of “real life’s” challenges back into our online lives through social gaming. There’s so much information out there, and so many new ways of interacting with people online, but so often our online relationships can be shallow and unrewarding. We want to make the social web more exciting and enjoyable by encouraging people to play and interact on a deeper, emotional level.

In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:

Whaboo is a social and emotional game. A place where you can have nothing but a box. A very special box. Full of your favorite things.

How did you get the idea for your company?

We wanted to recreate the experience of learning about someone; helping people to build stronger relationships and discover new things. So many times I’ve heard some music or saw something really cool and thought: “my friends would love this, if only they’d take the time to discover it”. Of course there are many ways to share the things you love on the internet, but Whaboo does this through play, rewarding users as they learn.

Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?

We bootstrapped for more than 1 year whilst we got the idea off the ground. We are now in discussions with several venture capital firms and working with international groups in presale partnerships.

How many employees do you have? How many developers?

We are 4 guys with a little extra help here and there.

Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring and where?

Yes. We are currently looking for people in and around Amsterdam. We will also be hiring a Community Manager who will be picked from our beta users.

Which platform are you building on? Why?

Whaboo is wrapped in Flash and is pushing it to its limits. On the server side everything is built using Microsoft technologies. The choice to use Microsoft was not difficult as Whaboo’s implementation requires features that can only be found in Microsoft SQL Server 2008.

Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/internet area?

I see the two most fascinating and active online markets at the moment as being Social Media and Gaming. Whaboo seeks to take full advantage of both these exciting opportunities.

What do you think about the BizSpark Program?

BizSpark has continuously given Whaboo support, well beyond our expectations. We’ve had so much help and advice from the enthusiastic and generous team at Microsoft, who has been genuinely interested in seeing Whaboo succeed. Thanks guys!

Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?

Aim high, put in the effort, and enjoy every success at each step, as if that step were the goal itself. In the words of Emmett "Doc" Brown, "If you put your mind into it, you can accomplish anything".

Who’s your role model?

Why not the Doc himself? I've put my heart and mind into creating Whaboo, and, as he also says: "I finally invented something that works!"

What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?

Welcome to Whaboo.

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