We are not wealthy enough to really invest in startups, but sometimes we wish we were. Once upon a time we did provide a few entrepreneurs we liked with some seed funding. One of those companies was Wakoopa.
In 2007 we met with the founders of Wakoopa, Robert Gaal and Wouter Broekhof and after a few meetings we decided to provide them with the seed funding they needed to get started. The company they envisioned tracked people’s behavior and app usage, which they would be able to share with each other online.
You would be able to brag about how much time you’d spent in Photoshop in the past 7 days, and see who was even more active than you among your friends, or in a certain geographical area. As such things go, the business morphed (or should I say ‘pivoted’) into a more business-to-business behavioral data product after a couple of years, as that’s where they saw great opportunities.
In the beginning we eagerly provided them with feedback and introductions. Soon though we realized they were growing fast and had become mature enough to do fine without our advice.
Since then they grew from two geeks hacking a cool site together to a professional company with a great team and they raised funding with venture capitalists and even attracted a CEO with the experience they needed to take their company to the next level. We attended the quarterly shareholder meetings and were always proud when we learned of their progress. It was also fun to work with venture capitalists who invested a lot more, and more often, and to share a seat at the same side of the table with them.
Then one day we were invited to have dinner to discuss some important news. A merger was in the works and that provided us with an opportunity to do an exit. Having been a small shareholder for the past seven years we felt the time was right to say goodbye so we took this opportunity. Today we can announce that Wakoopa joins forces with Netquest. Congratulations to Wouter Broekhof, Robert Gaal, Wakoopa CEO Piet Hein van Dam, the rest of the team at Wakoopa and Netquest.
We won’t be retiring on what we made from this deal anytime soon, but it certainly is a nice bonus and we will use what we earned to invest in the growth of The Next Web. Let’s hire a few more writers!
UPDATED: found an old photo, taken in 2006 of the original signing. From left to right: Patrick de laive, Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, Wouter Broekhof and Robert Gaal: