Curate better wishlists via user reviews with Wishberg

The Mumbai-based startup is pushing a social network that allows users to draw from others' product experience for reviews on their wishlists, which it says is currently a broken model.
Written by Srinivas Kulkarni, Contributor

Everyone has a list of things to buy, to do and to dream about. We have seen people making notes about their wishes in diaries, notepads, drafts in their e-mail, blogs or simply forget about it. Mumbai-based startup Wishberg believes that's a business opportunity.

Pravin Jadhav, co-founder and CEO of Wishberg.com
Pravin Jadhav, co-founder and CEO of Wishberg. You can reach him at @beingpractical on Twitter.

"We are building a product around this idea, and that is the foundation of Wishberg. We played with this idea for about 30 months now, seen failure as Tyche'd [an earlier version of Wishberg] which took up 24 months of our journey. Went back to the drawing board, spoke with many users and looked at data--based on that we started iterating and building further," said Pravin Jadhav, the company's co-founder and CEO.

ZDNet: What is Wishberg all about? What problems does it solve?

Jadhav: "The way we look at wishlists now--they are our self-made appointments with life and Wishberg lets users build, manage and track their wishlist for life. We think of wishlist as one shopping cart for life."

Wishberg is designed and developed to help users maintain a single wishlist for life. People can add their wishes across categories and share it with their friends and discover what others are wishing for. It also helps to connect with people having similar wishes and enables engagement around your wishlist.  

On completing a wish, users can also share their experiences and rate them. We have seen that these experiences not only help others in their decision making but are also great motivators to finish a wish. There have been instances when users have told us how Wishberg inspired them to discover new things to do and get motivated by other's experiences."


What makes your product stand out from competitors?

Popular social products are trying to migrate or experiment with the wishlist approach to get better engagement. Facebook tried its own experiments by introducing "Want" buttons and stopped with it, we believe there are reasons Facebook can never build it. E-commerce companies have their own wishlist feature, but that is not smart enough--does not lead to engagement or discovery or acquisition of new customers. Also e-commerce should focus on completing transactions and anything else is a distraction for them.
Some products are focused on building interests graphs, some are focused on one vertical. It is still not clear how to differentiate between an interest and intent for many. For example, a Facebook "like" is a interest, not a intent. We believed the wishlist product is broken.
We are seeing few startups that are trying to build wishlist products, but the fact that we as consumers are not using them indicates that this is an open ground. We hope to make a mark here with Wishberg.
We are building Wishberg ground up with a focus on the consumer, and not brands. Our thought process is consumers first, brands later. The ease of use and ability to engage on wishes is simpler. 

Who is your target audience? What is the primary motivation for them to join Wishberg?

Target audience is anyone and everyone. We are used to maintaining to-do list for life, so anyone who aspires to do anything and works towards achieving it should do that with Wishberg. We lead busy lives today, maintain many to-do lists for work or projects, but never make one for their own life. The primary motivation here is to record things do in life--big or small and track it. Lot of people wish to do something different in life but are limited with the universe of friends and family around of them to discover new experiences. Wishberg helps to discover these wishes and connect with people who have already fulfilled them.

Any key features that you'd like to highlight?

We are continuously looking at data and talking to users to understand how we can achieve the right product-market fit. Wishberg initially started with five high indulgence categories and the content was curated by us. Later we realized it is impossible for us curate since users can wish for anything--we let users add their own wishes. Going forward, we realized Wishberg had about 90 percent males and saw very less (almost nil) engagement for female users. We spoke to few and users suggested that categories were very male-oriented and users had loads of restrictions on wishing. That’s when we took a call to open up all categories and let users wish for all that they want.

Any patterns that you've observed from your users that share insights on Indian users on your platform?

Currently 60 percent users are from India, rests are international users; females now are just over 30 percent of the entire user base. Some of the popular categories are books, fashion, travel and bucketlist.

What is your current revenue model? How do you look to monetize on the product?

We are not monetizing at this time. Though we are doing our own experiments to figure out right monetization models that would work for us at scale, revenues is not our current focus. We are presently working on the product, user acquisition and growth.

What are your future plans and growth strategy?

We have lots on the plate to do on product. All we plan to do is lined up in three buckets--engagement, growth and distribution. We are presently working on first two, and will start on distribution soon.
There are lots of interesting features that we are working on, ones that will go live soon and I can talk about are:

1. Letting users wish for anything in less than five seconds.

2. Wishing outside Wishberg, so users can basically wish for anything even when he or she is not on our site.

3. Ability to predict when a user is most likely to convert a wish to a buying intent.
We are iterating fast on product, building and breaking features, also discarding those that are not well adopted. We aim to become the default destination for sharing, discovery and fulfilling wishes of life, like what we refer to Wishberg as "Shopping Cart for Life".

Tell us a little about your team and yourself. 

Wishberg is 8-member team based out of Mumbai, most of the team is focused on product development and engineering. Our founding team comprises of me and Kulin Shah, COO.

I am responsible for product, design, marketing and technology at Wishberg. With about 10 years of experience in building Internet and Mobile products, I use that experience in building and scaling products from scratch in different verticals. Shah is responsible for content, alliances, finance and operations. 

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