Widbook is a digital collaborative community where people can share stories. You can read, write and publish e-books for free in an innovative and modern environment. If you love books, this is the right place for you.
Who is your startup aimed at?
Widbook is for people who love books and for everyone who has something to tell. Whether you’re an indie or established author, a reader, a journalist, teacher or novice, we invite you to join us, get connected with people from all over the world and uncover a new way to write and discover many books to read!
How does your startup stand out against its competitors?
Widbook is the first collaborative platform where it is possible to publish ebooks that have more than one author or to send and receive collaborations from people in the community. There’s no other community like Widbook. We want to offer the best editors for writers to have the best experience and the best reading experience too, through a sophisticated design. We want our readers to feel like they are reading a physical book.
Where did the idea for the startup come from?
Widbook was originally developed as a tool for a university professor to write and collaborate on projects with students and colleagues. When the idea attracted the attention of other educational professionals, I recognized a gap in the market for building digital collaborative projects in an ebook format, and founded Widbook, much more complete and with different tools, so everybody could have their own digital, book.
What most inspired the founders was the idea that everybody has something to say, to write and share. Widbook allows a unique experience between writers and readers in digital media, because I want people to be able to express themselves in a creative way and share valuable content. And I want to give people the power of creating an ebook the way they feel is best, transforming their ideas, stories and experiences into words, pictures and videos to upload there.
Did you have any concerns when starting your business, if so what were they?
First we didn’t know how many people would be interested in sharing content in an ebook format. It was a surprise that so many people registered themselves on Widbook since the beginning. There’s a huge public that wants to write and share their content with the world, and many people are starting to follow their favorite authors and collaborate on their stories.
What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
I founded Digitale.XY2 digital agency, a company headquartered in Campinas
and São Paulo, Brasil that has for 10 years worked with the planning of digital marketing, digital
presence and consultancy. I was ahead of the merging process with Attitude Global group, one of the biggest commutations groups in the world. I have worked in the software development market as a systems analyst and participated in the official process of implementation and assessment of the CMMi methodology. I have an MBA in Strategic & Economic Business
Management from Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) and Ohio University in the United States.
How did you initially raise funding for your company?
W7 Capital Brazil became our initial investor in early 2013.
How do you keep your business relevant, and engaged with your audience over the last 3 years?
Fifty percent of Widbook’s activity comes via mobile, a trend that is taking off worldwide. Two things we kept hearing from users the first time around was that they wanted the app to feel more personal and the network more interconnected. So we brought sensitivity to the platform with a responsive timeline and incorporated a new, self-contained social element that can replace existing mediums or work in conjunction with them. (Users can follow and message one another, make recommendations, and share content on Widbook’s own high-powered social platform.) The result is an integrated, flexible experience we know both ends of our user spectrum are going to love, and again, we can’t stress how important their input was to making this happen.
How long has the your startup been in the making, and who is the team behind the business?
Widbook was launched in June 2012 as a “pilot.” It was beta and very simple. On January 2013 we received the first round of investment and that was when the company really started to grow the way we know it now. We hired a great team to help to develop Widbook and we launched a lot of new features. The three founders are: Me (Flávio Aguiar – CEO), Joseph Bregeiro (CTO) and André Campelo (COO).
What has been your biggest challenge so far as a startup owner?
Being the owner of a startup which is part of a revolution is very challenging. If you look back, you realize that pictures, videos, music and many other markets already crossed a digital revolution. When it happens, the industry changes and needs to adapt. Now it is happening to the publishing industry and nobody knows what`s going to happen. The only thing we know is that the way we produce and consume books is changing and Widbook is at the forefront of this revolution.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
We believe everybody has something to say, to write and share. Widbook allows a unique experience between authors and readers in digital media. Now, all these writers are free to develop the book they want. People can now produce things exclusively to the digital format and include multimedia features, for example. The way you write and publish your work is included on it and that`s why we created a new process for writing and reading which allows inclusion of pictures and videos, for example.
Our mission is to enable people to share stories and improve the writing and reading experience of ebooks. All of our actions are taken thinking about how to make reading and writing an easy and pleasant activity. We have many projects coming up, on and off line, as well as platform improvements. All these plans are focused to reveal new writers and improve the social aspect of Widbook: Putting together writers and readers.
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
The ability to deal with adverse situations and problems that happen without expectation. In business today, the ability and agility to solve problems are the drivers that differ you from your competitors and give you advantages that are often critically important to lead you to success. The speed in identifying and acting on these situations makes all the difference.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
The two main tips that I can give to people who are challenged by their startups are:
1) Be curious: Search and know all about your market and about the behavior of your users / customers. Offer something that they do not yet know they need.
2) Agility: It is important to have your plan of action, but it is critical to have flexibility in the activities! “Move fast” should be the motto of every startup!