Up until recently, it wasn’t clear what value social influence would have. There is the advertising value, sure, but no clear way to translate influence online into real money.
Wahooly is a service that gives actual startup equity to influential people in exchange for their social media marketing services. That might sound like a recipe for legal disaster, but today the company took a step toward bringing further legitimacy to it’s platform. The company has teamed up with financial services startup CapLinked to help the company perform due diligence, without the hassle of face-to-face meetings.
With Wahooly, as we’ve previously covered on PandoDaily, influential people can take their social weight and exchange it for equity in startups. Wahooly takes a stake in a startup, and then disperses that equity to the users of the service that are the most engaged in spreading the word about the company.
The service faces a few problems, as isn’t not entirely clear the startup is capable of pulling off its mission to become a “virtual startup accelerator.” How do Wahooly’s “investors” know if the startups hawking equity on the site are legitimate companies? Are the people behind the companies, that users have never met, being honest? Are the financials and reports from the company authentic, or pulled out of thin air?
Venture firms would normally perform due diligence to determine the validity of the team, the financials, and the market. But because Wahooly is looking to do these deals at scale, remotely, and securely, it needs to outsource a big part of the process. That’s where the partnership with CapLinked comes in.
CapLinked’s tools help small businesses manage complex financial transactions. Normally, billion dollar companies and established financial organizations are the only ones able to securely perform financial transactions. For smaller businesses you just send an email to your banker. It’s hardly secure. Small businesses can perform the same transactions on CapLinked without paying through the nose.
Wahooly will be using CapLinked’s secure financial tools to make sure that all of the financial and regulatory documents are secure, while also utilizing a space to bring together both sides of the table in a secure and private place. This will help Wahooly not only in the short term, but according to Wahooly CEO Dana Severson, “we’ve talked about a Wahooly fund,” and having a place to perform the due diligence already set up far in advance of any future launch “will make that process much easier.”
Of course, with the security of the due diligence being taken care of by CapLinked, the real challenge for Wahooly will be picking the right companies.
You know, the hard part.