Madrid-based Wave has reached over 80% of its £500k investment target on Crowdcube.
Billy Wood

Manuel De La Esperanza of Wave talks about the private mapping startup's £500k crowdfund

Spanish mapping startup Wave is poised to launch in the UK after achieving over 80% of its £500k crowdfunding target in less than a week on the crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.

The startup, which was founded by entrepreneurs Manuel De La Esperanza and Luis Gelado in 2014, launched the investment drive last Tuesday (16th August) and his since racked up over £400k from 139 individual investors.

Centered around a private mapping service, Wave users are able to safely and securely share location information with each other with various privacy settings built in to the app to ensure only the relevant people are provided with the right information for a set period of time.

Having already launched in the Far East, Asia and Europe, the startup boasts a user base of over 4m along with 1.2m active users across 120 countries worldwide.

The Madrid-based firm is now eyeing up further expansion into the UK, a market which co-founder Manuel describes as a ‘top country’ for all digital businesses due to the strength of its digital ecosystem.

Following the launch of the tech firm’s crowdfunding drive and ahead of its wider UK release, Bdaily spoke to Manuel De La Esperanza to find out more about the Spanish startup’s aspirations.

Why have you chosen crowdfunding for this investment drive?

It’s more a strategic and personal reason than a mere financial one. We love the idea of opening Wave up to the world.

We say Wave is for everyone, so it made sense to offer everyone the possibility of becoming part of the company. We also like having hundreds of people trusting the team and the project on this journey.

Wave is such a fascinating and ambitious project, so I’m sure many people will want to help us make the company better.

Is the UK an important market for you?

The UK is a top country for all digital businesses, and of course, for Wave as well. It is a super multicultural society, with cosmopolitan cities as well as small villages all in one nation.

Financially speaking, this means our UK customers have great value and they will be one of our priority countries by next year. Currently we are experiencing a lot of organic growth in the UK with absolutely zero investment.

What are your ultimate aspirations for the business?

Wave is targeting more than two billion smartphone users all over the world – we believe it’s a useful tool for everyone.

Our objective is to become a part of everyone’s daily life, so that when anybody thinks about personal location, we want Wave to automatically pop into their minds. We want it to be a must-have app for any smartphone user!

Who do you consider to be your main competitors?

Although we do not have direct competitors, some other apps share a similar idea that we need a better way of meeting people and communicating location.

But their solution is a social approach, e.g. “let’s see who’s around”. We believe nobody wants to be stalked or followed, that’s why privacy is our core value.

We don’t have a map with all of your contacts within it, but an individual map for each person. It will only be active for a limited period of time (therefore if you forget to erase it, it will automatically expire and you’ll stop sharing your position), and you will always have the consent of both parties. It’s a two-way relationship which protects both parties.

Our users love this approach. We are positive that it’s the tool that they’ve been waiting for. You only need to take a look at the app store’s reviews, read the media coverage and take a look at our growth numbers!

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