This week IrishCentral chatted to two Irish entrepreneurs James McClurg and Jason Mulhall about their new app Wonder. Wonder uses simple, Tinder-esque swipe technology to help users to discover the best things to do and see in their city. We wanted to find out how it all began.
Tell us a little about your company Wonder: When did it form? What was the inspiration?
It is a free mobile App, that enables everyone to discover the most exciting things to see, do and buy in the city around them – all with a simple swipe (similar to Tinder’s swipe action). It has now launched in two cities, London and New York, with more cities coming soon. You can check out our website and download the App from here: thewonderapp.co .
There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears to bring the app to market, as we created Wonder using our own personal funds and alongside doing our day jobs, but we couldn’t be happier with the outcome and are really excited about the times ahead.
What problem does your product solve?
Wonder helps users discover fun, food & drink and fashion in a totally personalized way (based on age, sex, location) and deliver it in real-time (at the exact time when users open up the App).
We know that people have busy lives, so Wonder takes away all the effort needed by the users for relevant discovery, letting users put all their effort into simply enjoying the things the city has to offer.
Adding to this, we have made the app extremely simple to use with all functionality only one touch away – so, gone are the days of a user getting lost and confused in the dark depths of an app or website (well, while they are using Wonder anyway!).
Finally, we know people LOVE swiping … so we are here to help feed this global addiction. Get your swiping fingers at the ready everyone – we are coming for you!
What kind of changes did the company go through in early stages?
We are completely focused on creating the most simple-to-use and most beautiful product for our users, so we continually speak to our users on how we can do more on these fronts. We have some exciting product updates this summer which we know our users will love.
What kind of growth has your company experienced?
We have had an exciting first two months, with better than expected user growth and impressive daily and weekly user return rates, in both London and New York. Given this, we are making some additional product features this summer and are moving our plans forward to launch Wonder in San Francisco, LA and Dublin in the coming months. Things are moving super fast!
Tell us about your industry: What was it like to break into?
We are in the Lifestyle and Entertainment industry, more specifically you could say we are in the editorial recommendations space; think TimeOut and Stylist, but with Wonder being the ultimate ‘go to’ discovery brand for the mobile phone generation.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced so far? The greatest victory?
The biggest challenge has been juggling two time zones from a London base, but now we have that figured out (by doubling the amount of sugar we have in our tea!) we are ready to take on another new time zone in the coming months. It is also likely that we will open a US base to help support our quick city growth.
Regarding greatest victory to date - aside from a happy and growing user base, which is definitely our biggest victory - we have received recognition from a top UK newspaper (The Guardian) as a top App and were selected to feature on Product Hunt (a US community site for exciting new technology), all within our first 6 weeks!
What's been the most important lesson?
Listening to our users is so important, and not just hearing what we want to hear, but listening broadly to why they love Wonder, use Wonder, what they would add or what they want to change. Then it is for us to react fast and measure the impact of any of our changes.
Repeating this loop again and again will be the key to our (hopeful!) continued success.
What are your plans for 2015-16?
Our immediate plans are to grow our user base in our current cities and launch in new cities across Ireland, the UK and US. We have thousands of businesses already on Wonder, and our focus is on telling people about us so they enjoy all the exciting things their city has to offer.
What international markets do you foresee the company expanding into? Will maintaining your identity as an Irish company be important to you, or are you seeking to brand yourself differently?
We are so proud of our Irish heritage and the majority of our team is actually from Northern Ireland and Ireland, including our developers, brand creators and marketers. The talent from home really is incredible.
We hope that we can do an amazing job at representing our country as we take Wonder to new cities at home and abroad - showing how Irish entrepreneurs can create global digital consumer platforms and also make cities across the world more sociable and exciting – for all the Irish ex-pats and all their friends within their city!
How can we help you?
We would love for you to share our company with your Irish community, so that the Irish community in London and New York can enjoy the app and share with friends, allowing them to discover the city around them like never before and have a cracking summer to boot! We would also love to hear their feedback too.
We will also be coming to more cities soon, including Dublin, so would love to begin that conversation with potential users - they can drop us an email and we will pre-register them: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What advice do you have for other people/companies starting out in your industry?
It is a busy and noisy space, so expect to work 10 times harder to get your name out there but also remember that it will be worth it, as every time you achieve something new (no matter how small), there is no feeling quite like it ... oh, and also a big, big, good luck to everyone who creates something they are passionate about!
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