Watch then do: this is the principle of WatchDO, the mutual aid 3.0 mobile application launched in September by Antibois Stéphane Donabedian. An idea that has been in his head since 2017 but that he had put away because “using videoconferencing which was too expensive at the time”. Since then, it has become more democratic and the former real estate agent, victim of a heart attack in October 2021, decided to embark on the adventure by creating the company WatchDO in Sophia Antipolis in April.
The application connects, via chat and videoconference only, individuals who have skills and others who have problems in these skills. A disconnected switch? Just send a message to the community: a “helper” will respond and guide you through the right actions using his phone’s camera.
To be able to use the app, it is mandatory to register a skill among the 180 fields listed: IT, gardening, DIY, cooking, administration, animals, music, sport… Almost everything “with the exception of clairvoyance, health and childhood”, specifies the leader who uses semantic artificial intelligence to remove the abuse of language in the messages. And if the “helper” is badly noted by the “Help Me”, “We intervene to ask him to verify his skills. On the third warning, he can be banned from WatchDO.”
The capital gain
In three months of existence, the app developed by Stéphane Donabedian and his teams of freelance developers already has 7,000 users and has already resolved more than 500 requests for help. “90% of requests for help find a solution; the remaining 10% do not because they are in too technical niches”he says.
Free for its users, WatchDO is ergonomic and easy to install with a Google, Apple or Facebook account. It doesn’t matter where the Helpers are located (in France or abroad) since the app is not geolocated and available in 171 countries.
Finally, it can bring in money. Very trendy cryptocurrency, the startupper has created his own: the WDO (for WatchDO) which he uses as a reward. “The more the Helper helps, the more stars he receives, which he can exchange for WDOs and then euros.”
Last February, Stéphane Donabedian invested 70k€ to develop the app and found a shareholder who contributed 30k€ even before the company was created in April. In the process, the leader who runs a YouTube channel on cryptocurrency raises 80k€ from his community.
WatchDO has two business models. The first, in freemium, provides contextualized advertising when requesting help and at the end of the session. The cost? A fixed price of 70€ and 300€ per month.
A premium version at €4.99 will follow in early 2023. Aimed at users, it will offer more features (choice of helper, possibility of contacting them again, etc.).
Ambitious, the leader wants to integrate more artificial intelligence into WatchDO “but we will see that in use”. Before, he wants to improve the functionalities of video and even dreams of creating his own system which “would be interactive. For example, users could draw circles around the problem or solution”.
Stéphane Donabedian wants his app to be in the top 10 worldwide. “We have the idea, we are the first and we will put the levers to get there.” Starting with a new fundraising of €400k from business angels. “Completed at the end of the first half of 2023, it will allow us to release the premium and English versions, the economic advertising system, ensure communication and two years of operation of the company.”
WatchDO forecasts 2022-23 revenue of €285k then €700k the following year to reach €4.6m in 2027-28.
On the user side, “We are aiming for 10,000 by the end of December.” A little communication and a sponsorship system should see the community soar to 100,000 at the end of 2023 and then to 1.5 million within five years. To ensure its development, WatchDO plans to recruit 8 people next year.
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