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Sounds kind of unsettling, doesn’t it: why would someone want to wake up with a stranger? Adrenalin resulting from either excitement or a sheer horror of spending your first waking minutes in a company of a stranger is exactly what the founders of Wakie Grachik and Tatul Adjamyan are betting on.
Letting a stranger call you to wake you up is a fun alternative to a regular mobile phone alarm clock, and may just be more effective to bring sleepy heads back to life. A user sets up an alarm clock via a website interface (and I am sure a mobile app is just around the corner). Another user (the caller) would ring him or her when the alarm is due to go off, wishing a good morning, and having a little chat. Nice, social, exciting! By the way, the rude or inappropriate callers will be noted and banned from using the service.
Wakie is an international brand of the Russian startup Budist, which has won Runet Prize 2011 last week. In Russia the service is popular if judging by the “likes” it collected in the Russian social network Vkontakte (over 110 000).
In its video pitch (available here in Russian) Grachik Adzhamyan claims that the company was the first to come up with an idea and may now be cloned given the media interest. I found one: it is TalkO’clock (also Russian), with 873 Facebook “likes” as of today.
In the same pitch Adjamyan says that the marketing strategy is a word of mouth. Yet I believe that partnering with dating websites, such as Flirtic will be more effective. With dating apps the waking service can get a boost to its growth relatively quickly as their target user base is likely to be young people, in the middle or just fresh from student life, dating and partying late into the night (and not the families with young children known to be unbeatable alternative to an alarm clock).
The Wakie / Budist idea was presented at one of the Greenfield Project events in April 2011. In Russia Greenfield Project is the earliest stage startup support network where the raw business ideas are presented at the “PoSeedelki” events, discuss them during the ” Feedback” sessions and develop them further during the working weekends called “Harvest”.
The startup made it to the Forbes Russia’s Startup competition list of semi-finalists which was announced on the 30th of September 2011 (no further selection has been made). The 10 semi finalists of the competition are now blogging on Forbes Russia telling the audience about the daily routine of building their companies.
One more relevant piece of information: Adzhamyan runs a web studio Jameffect, and uses its profit to finance Wakie. One more argument to support “from outsourcing to innovation” trend.
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