How WRAPP was created
This article is written by Nardine B. M’barek, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.
Aurore Belfrage is a tech entrepreneur, investor, and a partner at EQT Ventures with a specific focus on Artificial Intelligence and GovTech. She is a syndicated columnist with leading Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet (SVD) and a contributor to POLITICO. She writes on issues at the intersection of geopolitics, ethics, governance, labor and future of work. Belfrage was born in London, and holds an MA in Entrepreneurship and an MSc in Business and Administration from the Stockholm School of Economics.
Mrs. Aurore Belfrage, a tech entrepreneur as well as an investor, and a partner at EQT Ventures, was a guest during Startup Istanbul 2015. She delivered a very nice speech in which she talked about numerous things related to startups and business. She started her speech by speaking about what being an entrepreneur is really like; it is -according to her- something very thrilling and exciting at the same time.
If you become an entrepreneur, it means that you have taken your life in your own hands, and you are starting to build something in which you really believe. However, it is really hard work, which is most of the time, scary and lonely, and in order to omit the fact that it is actually lonely and scary, you would need to surround yourself with other crazy people who are going through the same life circumstances and events as you are.
In 2010, Mrs. Belfrage was invited to participate in a business called ‘Wrapp’, it is a social-gifting application of which she became a co-founder in 2011. They raised $26M in two different rounds, and created millions of downloads as well as millions of impressions for their customers. They also got Niklas Zennström, the founder of Skype, to be one of their early investors inside of their board.
They also got Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn to sit in their board as well. This gave them a fantastic opportunity to profit from the knowledge and deep experience of these well-known entrepreneurs and businessmen. However, as Mrs. Belfrage stated, bragging about one’s business is an easy and fun part, but it is not the most interesting aspect of it.
The most interesting thing about Wrapp would be the fact that they have built their own product and rather priced it correctly, but ended up going to the wrong markets and selling it to the wrong people, which was considered as a big failure. So, where did it go wrong? According to Mrs. Belfrage, the insights were done together with Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Zennström, so it was not because they were ‘stupid’ but because it was the process they had to go through.
The risks they went through were calculated from the beginning, but the most important part is that they have actually learned from their mistakes and from what they did wrong.
Mrs. Belfrage moved to mention how important the mindset is when trying to become an entrepreneur; that is how she shared with us how exactly they came up with the idea of ‘Wrapp’. They were just a bunch of ‘geeks’ sitting together with a lot of junk food and coffee and they wanted to be somewhere social, peer-to-peer, and wanted to create something that would drive offline into online. They started to look for opportunities, and use social media; brainstorming and all. The idea then came up from the guy who is now the CEO of the company. They were thinking of something that no one has done before, and ended up coming up with one.