As the name suggests, Wisher is a wish-list app. Users can put anything on their wish lists, from things they’d like to own, to holidays and experiences. Friends, family – and even strangers can then follow their lists, buy items for them, or contribute to their wish funds.
Founder and "Wish Director" Maz Cohen bootstrapped her venture for two years to test its viability. Convinced Wisher would fly, she went about raising £300,000 from angel investors to help move the business to the next level.
Why angel investment?
“I have a very clear vision of what I want Wisher to be,” explains Maz. “That’s what angel investors buy into. They believe in your vision; they see the problem you’re trying to solve.”
Maz also preferred the low-risk, low-pressure nature of angel investment, rather than taking on debt that has to be repaid.
“Working with angels has given me time and space to work on my go-to-market strategy,” she says. “Plus, I had the flexibility to negotiate how much equity I wanted to give away.”
London's a big place, and the more doors you can open, the better.Maz Cohen
For all its benefits, securing angel funding is an onerous process. For Maz, it meant investing huge amounts of time and energy in joining business clubs, attending conferences and tech events, and building relationships with the contacts she made.
“It’s really tough,” she says. “It takes a lot of sweat and persistence.” Being part of the Business Growth Programme was invaluable in this respect. “It was a big help with introductions,” Maz explains. “London’s a big place, and the more doors you can open, the better.”
Meeting so many funders helped Maz understand what she wanted from her angels. By going out to her network with a clear brief on the support she was after, she was able to narrow down the field.
Then, after meeting with a few potential investors, she refined her brief. This eventually led to a deal with three individuals.
“My angels all have experience of investing in similar businesses,” Maz says. “So they understood my vision, and I was confident we could form a positive working relationship.”
With the money from her angels, Maz has been able to make some key hires. She’s also using the investment to develop the technology behind Wisher – and crucially, to market the proposition.
“As a startup, marketing has to be our biggest priority,” explains Maz. “We’re testing the various markets for the Wisher offering. And we’re looking to get the cost per acquisition as low as possible, as fast as we can.”
Understanding the investor community, and knowing what you want from an angel, are the keys to making the relationship work, Maz advises.
“Finding angel investors isn’t just a search for funding. You need to know what else they bring to the table: sector expertise, strategic advice, contacts, and so on. Otherwise, there’s a risk of bringing in the wrong investor for your business.”