Wunder: the new social media app for positivity and good causes

Jay Boisvert, CEO of Wunder, sets out his plan to reboot social media and how we use it
BizAge Interview Team
Screen shot of Wunder's website

Hi Jay! What does Wunder do?

Wunder is a fully verified social media platform that combines positive content with the facility to do good and make a difference, all within the app. As well as posting their inspiring content, users can buy or earn our in-app currency – Wunder coins – which have a real world value of 10p. These coins are stored in a secure in-app wallet and can then be donated through the platform to causes close to their heart – whether that’s supporting a local community project or gifting coins to a global charity.

We feel it’s time for a social media revolution. A time to ‘refresh the feed’, so to speak. Social media has been around for over 15 years, but during the last 10 years it’s become steadily darker, angrier and, frankly, less fun. Do you remember when you first joined Facebook? It felt like the future. Like a superpowered Friends Reunited (remember that?). But that excitement and positivity feels like a long time ago. That’s why we felt it was time to create something that makes people feel good about social again. And that helps make the world a better place.

What's your biggest strength?

As a team and business, we have heart, spirit and a relentless desire to build something that stands the test of time. Wunder’s commercial plan is one of long-term profitability, rather than a greedy fast cash grab based on selling user’s data. For example, we split 50% of all advertising revenue with our users. Some people have been surprised at this generosity – we could give a smaller percentage, after all – but it’s not about doing the bare minimum for appearance’s sake. It’s about doing the right thing. The moral thing. The good thing.

Another strength is the depth of experience and breadth of skills in our management and advisory teams. From charity and marketing experts to sustainability specialists, start-up business advisors and paid media mavens, we’ve got an effective, hungry team who are always pushing me.

In truth though, our most obvious strengths are our three USPs. That’s what saw so many investors keen to give us our initial start-up funding. We’re fully verified (so no trolls, no bots), we’re filled with positive content (to counteract doomscrolling and inspire our users) and we have an in-app currency that you can earn, simply by being on Wunder and interacting with branded content

It’s great for advertisers too, as each Wunder coin has a unique ID code so they can see exactly where users have been ‘spending’ the advertising revenue. Each advertising partner will receive a quarterly statement which shows whether their audience favours people projects, environmental charities, local groups and so on.

Jay Boisvert, CEO of Wunder

What made you think there was money in this?

It’s no secret that there’s profit to be made in social media but we wanted to create something of lasting value. Something we’d be proud (and comfortable) with our kids using. And something that could make a difference to the world.

We also knew that brands were looking for social spaces to spread their CSR messages and news, and charities were looking to attract more interest (and donations) from a Gen Z and early Millennial audience. Wunder is a platform that enables all of these ambitions.

So, with some seed funding from private investors, we built a platform that innovates social media, makes it easier for people to donate to causes and shines a light on companies that put purpose as well as profit in their business model.

It’s funny but a question I get asked a lot is ‘what would you do if Facebook stole your business model?’ For a start, it won’t happen as shareholders would revolt. But if it did, I’d be delighted. Because that would mean charities and causes globally would receive around $50 billion per year. I think the world would be a much better place to live in if a company like Facebook chose to do that.

Where is the business today? 

We are at a very early stage, just moving into year two, but we are hitting most of our milestones more quickly than expected – which is a nice surprise. We are about to run a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs and, happily, we’re the highest ever valuation (£25m) for a prelaunch business to be showcased on their platform. However, we know we will need to raise more cash with Seedrs again in mid 2023 and possibly again a year later, before we hit our full potential. There is a roadmap of tech and marketing activity that requires this extra support.

In the next few weeks we’ll launch a Beta release to 500 users who will essentially be trying their very hardest to find faults with the app, as well as telling us what they like and what they don’t. We will then start the ball rolling for the full release, all being well, later this year.

What is the secret to making the business work?

Building the team is paramount to any business becoming a success and there will be a big recruitment drive over the next 12 months. That’s always a challenge as we need to find people who will fit with our culture, which is people being comfortable with making mistakes. I know it sounds like a cliche but that’s an essential ingredient, otherwise we end up with lots of yes people – or people scared to suggest alternative ideas – which doesn’t foster the creative thinking we need. Having people who have failed before is also essential. When you have failed previously in business, I believe there is more of a freedom as you know how bad it can be if you fail but also know that you have come through it and you can come through it again.

We also want people who are thoroughly ambitious, unashamedly themselves and ready to learn. I believe in continuous learning, for myself too, as it stops you getting into a rut and keeps you open to new possibilities. Our CMO Scott Manson, for example, runs weekly ‘lunch and learn’ sessions where he brings new thinking in marketing, or great new campaigns or even viral social trends to the table, so we can get up to speed on what’s out there.

How do you market the company?

Slowly initially. We don’t want to go too big too fast with marketing. We want steady growth with a healthy bank balance which won’t rush us into expensive marketing for the sake of it. We have a couple of great agencies on board, covering overall marketing campaign and also influencer marketing, and some really powerful, engaging work that I can’t wait to share. We also have a healthy budget for marketing distribution, since I know that the best creative in the world is pointless unless you’re putting it in front of the right people in the right place at the right time.

What funding do you have? Is it enough?

Funding challenges are the norm and what most businesses have to deal with on a daily basis and we are no different. However, if you truly believe what you are doing you will find the right investor who agrees with you and more importantly believes in you.

The best bet is to get comfortable very quickly with constantly having to raise money in a start-up business. Don’t wait until your back’s against the wall before you go for the next round. , However, there are many ways to raise money, including crowd funding which gives everyone the opportunity to invest. That’s why we went with Seedrs for this round. We built an app for the people and we want people to be part of it.

What were you doing before?

In my previous life I ran and owned a publishing company, producing monthly titles such as Tempus, a high-end luxury lifestyle magazine, I sold this company in 2016 and went on to become the MD of the Long Drive World Series, a new golfing concept which successfully launched and toured the world and was televised on over 54 channels globally, including Sky Sports.

What is the future vision?

The sky really is the limit for Wunder. We have got so many ideas that we have to temper them and put them into our roadmap otherwise we would never be able to launch our current offering. This can be frustrating for me especially because my head is always well ahead of the current product. This means I’m never content with the way things currently are, which can be frustrating for our tech team. Sorry guys. But I also think that this can be really helpful for a business because there is never going to be a finish line. I’m always striving to create the best form of social media that creates social good.

Written by
BizAge Interview Team
May 9, 2022
Written by
May 9, 2022