At GO Gulf we support entrepreneurship and encourage startups that have potential to solve problems of their target audience . We keep an eye on start up world in Middle East and recently published a post titled – “18 Middle East Startups You Should Know About“. Based on feedback we received from our readers, we decided to contact these start-up founders and asked them the questions that can help and inspire our future entrepreneurs.
We are glad to announce that GO-Gulf has recently received an opportunity to interview – Mark and Seb, founders of Wepul. Wepul is a Middle East based start-up that helps people to swap their skills and get the work done for free.
About the founders
Seb – A German born in France that grew-up in Canada. Software engineer at heart with entrepreneurial blood. Transfixed by perfection, how things work and a flare for the why of things. Dedicated to making the world a better place.
Mark – A 12,418 day old designer from the UK. Voice-over enthusiast, skateboard riding, helicopter flying, beatbox trying serial hobbyist. Here is an interesting question – What pursuit is more valuable? Understanding how our brain works or understanding how the universe works?
How did the idea of Wepul Came to your mind.
Basically, it was a combination of Mark and I both trying to solve our individual problems. I was working in the UK and decided to have a go at entrepreneurial life. I quickly realized that, although I was good at my own craft, I knew nothing about how to run a business. Being strapped for cash, I realized that I would needed to find people who were in similar situations and could trade expertise. Mark meanwhile was trying to 1) learn how to ride a skateboard, 2) learn how to set up his fishtank and 3) find someone to visit a campsite for him in Italy, but had no know avenues to find such individuals.
What were the main challenges that you faced during launching your startup.
As far as WEPUL’s concerned, the biggest challenge has probably been a combination of not enough hours in the day with family, work and extra-curricular draws and then understanding when something is just good enough to be shipped.
How did you fund your startup.
It’s currently being funded out of pocket. Mark and I manage to run the business on as little as 10 dollars a month. It’s amazing how many free products are available for dot.com business today.
Main marketing techniques that you are using to increase the awareness about your brand.
We rely heavily on great people like you. We’ve come to realize that if you have something worth talking about, people will write about it. We don’t have a marketing budget and have still managed to get published in high profile magazines like What’sOn and TimeOut Dubai, purely based on the cause we are trying to push forward. That being said, we’ve recently received a cash injection after winning a crowdfunded start-up pitch at Impact Hub which we plan to use on a two day marketing event where everyone in Dubai can come, for free, and learn some amazing new skills.
The role of social media in promoting your startup.
We aren’t really using social media all that much to be honest. We do have a Facebook fan page and twitter profile in which we showcase cool new skills and favours that have been added. That being said, we ask all users to register using their social media accounts. This gives us the opportunity to provide a nicer and more personal experience for our users.
Top 3 mistakes that you had made while working on Wepul.
1. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll just get a bazillion users and then make money. Have a strategy off the bat.
2. Make sure everyone involved is on the same page. When things get tough, you want everyone to have the same level of commitment.
3. Know when things are good enough to ship so that you can start testing assumptions. Don’t wait until it’s perfect before launching.
Top 3 tips that you would like to give future entrepreneurs from Middle East.
1. An idea is worth is nothing. Execution is what matters
2. Don’t get overwhelmed with “setting up” the business. You don’t need a BA in accounting, marketing or law. Figuring out how you’re going to scale to a million users is a great problem to have when you get there. Just concentrate on what you’re going to provide to your customers.
3. Be prepared to be wrong. Validate your assumptions and if your wrong get over it. Pivot and get back on track.
GO Gulf team would like to thank Mark and Seb for their precious time. If you have any other questions for Mark and Seb, Please feel free to ask them in comments below. You can also like Wepul on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.