We met with WYSPR co-founders, Eliot Wood and Oliver Bourne. WYSPR is a multi-award-winning venture that describes itself as the world’s first friendvertising and social data collection agency. As young entrepreneurs and Essex alumni, they have been working with the Angels@Essex team to refine their pitch strategy and reach their £300,000 investment target.

Tell us a little but more about yourselves.

We met at the University of Essex in our first year, on the first day in fact! We discovered a mutual affinity for business, as a hobby, interest, and area of study, and built a relationship sharing our ideas. We did our placement year together in the City, where we gained in our respective areas of interest. Oliver’s in project management for branding and marketing and Eliot’s in client services management. We subsequently became the highest revenue earners in our departments.

What does WYSPR do? 

The idea came to us after scrolling through Instagram. We noticed that influencers tend to generate proportionally low engagement rates, sometimes just 1% of their audience. Meanwhile, our peers were posting about brands and products and receiving a proportionally higher level of engagement. Thus, WYSPR was born. The premise is simple; anyone can become an influencer. All you need to do is download our IOS app and start promoting for the brands you like. You receive an invite based on your interests, your geography, and audience, and can start monetising an asset our generation has developed purely passively. 

How did you find out about Angels@Essex?

We discovered Angels@Essex from a post by John Stenhouse on LinkedIn. As Essex students for four years, we saw the University’s business support services grow from as mall grass roots set-up to the full ecosystem that it is now. We saw the investment platform as the last piece of the puzzle needed to help businesses flourish.

How has the Angels@Essex team helped you?

In so many ways! We first reached out for guidance on refining our pitch and pitch strategy. The feedback not only helped us with the Angels@Essex pitch events, but all the others we were doing at the same time. Secondly, the Angels@Essex team has been inconstant communication with us about new opportunities. The list goes on, but feedback and opportunity communication has been what stood out for us.

“Angels@Essex has been about the people and the connections for us. Having access to their expert advice and skills has been enlightening for us, and we have certainly felt the benefits of their experience.”
Eliot Wood and Oliver Bourne WYSPR, Co-founders

Have you attended any of our webinars through the Space to Grow series?

We have not formally attended any due to scheduling clashes. Fortunately, Essex has made them available on YouTube. They have been fantastic and covered such a broad range of topics. One of 

the webinars we enjoyed the most was on pitching and exploring what investors would like to see. This can be a very subjective area, so it was useful to see such an in-depth review. 

What are the benefits of using the Angels@Essex platform? What does it mean to you?

Really it has been the people and the connections. Having access to their expert advice and skills has been enlightening for us, and we have certainly felt the benefits of their experience. Like many young entrepreneurs we recognise that we have got the spirit and the fire, but do not always know the way. Having other people to guide us on that path has been so beneficial.

Are you going to be using the services at Essex in the future?

We still are and always plan to. Essex has given a lot to us and we want to make sure we have something to give back in the future.

Would you recommend the University of Essex services to others?

That can only be a resounding yes!

What does the future hold for your business?

We are currently doing a raise. Our target is £300,000and we have had a great reception so far from venture capitalist firms in Angels@Essex consortiums. Developing our android app is the next step in terms our technology, enabling more people to sign up and become ‘Friendvertisers.’ We have so many ideas in the pipeline for our next raise when we hope to bring our development team in-house. We then plan to develop our X-Ray Specs tech for the consumer, giving our clients better insight into what to promote. Our ultimate goal is to expand internationally and disrupt the influencer market as we do.