Posted on June 29, 2016 by staff

Ambitious start-up Wakelet helps you organise the internet


Technology is making it easier to start up a business, with thousands of ideas standing a better chance than ever of becoming viable ventures. We continue our look at 10 of the most promising UK start-ups with Wakelet.

With the internet now filled with vast amounts of information across countless websites, curating that content is not always easy – and Manchester-based Wakelet aims to address that problem by allowing users to save and share information in a visual and engaging manner.

Users bookmark content and have the option to categorise it into ‘Wakes’ of their choosing and add notes to provide context or further information.

It’s the brainchild of Jamil Khalil, who created the platform with some friends after struggling to keep track of relevant information online in both his personal life and while working for Airbus.

From the word go, securing investment was a struggle. Khalil was advised to pitch to investors and said although he met more than 100 UK-based investors, no cash was forthcoming.

“Most people really liked the idea, but no one was willing to cross that line and invest early on. They wanted me to have a proven product, team, traction and so forth,” Khalil says.

“I just didn’t appreciate how difficult it was to find people who understand tech and who are ready to invest in early stage tech companies who don’t immediately generate revenue.”

As a result, he was working on the business in his spare time and used his wages from Airbus to support its development until he was able to build the first version of the product with a team of developers.

With a platform built, interest from investors was renewed.

Wakelet initially secured £150,000 in convertible notes and then an additional £1.1m in the first funding round – all from angel investors.

Like other tech start-ups, Khalil says one major challenge has been finding the right team.

A chance meeting with a fellow aerospace industry employee, Rick Butterworth, at an airport while returning to the UK was a breakthrough.

They exchanged business cards and when Khalil discovered Butterworth had experience of building websites through his LinkedIn profile, he asked him to join Wakelet.

This gave him the idea of using the professional networking site to reach out for other local software developers, and allowed him to find five developers to bring on-board to work on the project.

At Wakelet’s current stage, turnover is not a focus as the business is pre-revenue and working to grow value before introducing revenue opportunities.

“The monetisation plans that we have align with our ambition to give people complete control of the information they find online,” says Khalil.

Khalil is keen to encourage other start-up founders to work to overcome any setbacks along the way and highlights that being multi-skilled is crucial – including having strong communication skills, a knowledge of finance and some sales ability.

“Being an entrepreneur can be harsh. At times you’ll feel lonely and experience some of your darkest days,” he says.

“The ability to persevere, be fearless, think straight, and show strength and determination to make things happen that appear to be impossible is key.”