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wripl (Kevin Koidl, right, and Brian Gallagher, left) at the Dublin Web Summit.

The Irish startup making waves in online visitor experience

\"wripl

wripl (Kevin Koidl, right, and Brian Gallagher, left) at the Dublin Web Summit.

Introducing…
wripl – the Dublin-based startup that aids websites in creating a more personalized and engaging experience for visitors.

How it started:
wripl is a Trinity College Dublin start-up that aims to create a more personal web experience. It officially formed six months ago but has been incubating in Trinity College Dublin and the Center of Next Generation Localization for almost two years now. The inspiration came from the Ph.D. and master’s degree studies of its co-founders, Dr. Kevin Koidl and Brian Gallagher. 

The problem it solves:
Wripl assists websites in providing a more engaging experience. As Koidl explained, “websites spend a lot of money on quality content that is often not found or valued. In many cases the websites don't even know if the content is engaging or performing. This is where wripl comes in: assisting the user to find interesting content and helping the website to see if the content is engaging for the user.”

The nitty-gritty – how it works:
wripl currently offers an API (application programming interface)-based WordPress plug-in that’s free to use. After a 3-6 month trial phase, and only if they can clearly prove that a website’s business model is positively affected, wripl either take a revenue share or offers a SaaS (software as a service)-based monthly with a monthly fee.

What’s changed since the beginning:
Like most start-ups, wripl has gone through a few iterations since it was founded. As Koidl recalled, “the company started as a consumer facing product in which the website visitor could decide if wripl was switched on or off. The user had to sign into wripl on the website to enable it. After this, the user was able to see their interest model on wripl.com. It was privacy sensitive and the user could also take this interest model to all wripl-enabled websites. The result was an instantly personalized experience the moment the user accesses the page.”

However, that initial approach didn’t create as much traction as Koidl and Gallagher thought it would. “We were very surprised,” Koidl admitted. “In simple terms we had to conclude that users are too lazy to worry about privacy and control. That might change, but we are finding a lot more interest since we started providing the technology in a cookie-based format and without sign-in.”

Greatest victory to date:
Winning an Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) award that them to the US last year.

Breaking into the industry – what it was like and who else is there:
“This space has many players but still has huge opportunities,” Koidl said. “The web is becoming more personal and wripl's vision is to be a major player in this ongoing evolution. In terms of the competition, we have seen many competitors move purely into content retargeting. This may create interesting short term profits for websites but does not perform on high quality traffic. Wripl works very close with the individual websites to ensure we can increase the engagement with core and loyal user groups. In simple terms, we see most of our competitors as mass producers and wripl as specialized boutique.”

What’s ahead:
In the coming months, wripl’s focus will be growth – particularly towards the US – and securing investment. The team of three will be working hard to expand the current roster of websites using wripl’s and to spread their message of valuable customer engagement.

Words of advice for people starting out in the same area or industry:
“Customer focus is key. Identify whose problem you might be solving and then talk with everyone in that space.”

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