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  • Writer's pictureCassandra Diamantis

willHQ wins the Battle of the Founders

On August 26th, 2022, OnMarket held the inaugural Battle of the Founders – a new equity crowdfunding competition. The three-phase competition focuses on educating the start-up community on equity crowdfunding as a capital raising method, assisting founders with pitch refinement, and hosting a pitch night where three external judges select two winners - and the crowd picks their favourite! All winners receive the opportunity to raise capital with OnMarket for no up-front cost. This year, willHQ has won – meaning, in Q1 2023, you will be able to invest in willHQ and in return, become a shareholder.

Here's what co-founders Brendan and Vern had to say about winning the Battle of the Founders:

"Winning Battle of the Founders provided immense validation. We sat in front of 250 people in the room and three high-level business owners, corporate judges, and we were the clear winner. That is absolutely affirming for us and it tells us very clearly that our proposition is a winner. It is not just a market gap; it is a market gap where the latent demand is immense. Our challenge following Battle of the Founders is getting this message across. Financially, Battle of the Founders created a platform for us to now present our business as validated. We have six months to go before we hit the market so crowdfunding is an ideal vehicle for us to raise funds to get our message across, to drive our user numbers, and to raise awareness." - Brendan

"The Battle of the Founders fit so well into our plan because in actuality it was the first public pitch we did. Winning the equity crowdfunding raise was a bonus for us because we all know that without any marketing budget, the best product or idea in the market will never be heard. We need the raise for marketing purposes, as well as capital purposes.

When I first met Brendan, we had so many discussions and debates, but one thing I remember he said was 'imagine we go for crowdfunding.' There is a strong reason we wanted to win - we do believe that if the crowd become investors of our start-up, they will be our advocates. Wining Battle of the Founders is the nice-to-have boost for our go-to market and growth strategy." - Vern

So, what does willHQ do?

Did you know there are over 30 triggers for the need to create a will? Further to this, did you know, according to willHQ, roughly 25% of people die without wills (the definition of intestacy)?

That number could fill Sydney cricket ground every single year. Now, multiply that by the number of impacted family members – the people who must sort out the mess afterwards. So, let’s just say every intestacy affects five or six other people or parties. After taking this into account, roughly 250,000 people a year may be affected by intestacy in one way or another. Adding the annual numbers of people directly affected by intestacy results in millions of people being impacted.

A simple reason for intestacy is that Australian law has always required a will to be on paper, signed in ink, in the physical presence of two independent witnesses. This is time-consuming and costly. However, as a result of the global pandemic, the law was changed to allow digital signature and digital witnessing of such documents. Now, willHQ is imminently about to launch a fully digital solution, which to date is only legal in NSW and Victoria, that will allow people to make a will in one single session, online, and securely, with willHQ providing the witnesses. The solution also maintains a permanent online draft document that can be updated at anytime.

willHQ’s launch is scheduled for November. At this stage they are building a waitlist and their focus for the first three months after launch is to understand how people are reacting, what is the uptake and the feedback. Brendan and Vern will use their soft launch to learn, drive numbers, create revenue, and understand what people say, think, and do. Then they will look to introduce complementary documents within two to four months, such as Power of Attorney, the Power of Guardianship, and the Advance Care Directive.

To Brendan and Vern's understanding, willHQ is the first fully digital will-making platform, and they plan to scale their business globally - starting with India. They are currently in a programme which is run out of Melbourne and sponsored by the Victorian State Government called The Big Leap, which aims to take Aussie tech companies to the sub-continent. willHQ is interested in India for its large population and business opportunity, and also because their lead investor represents an Indian Australian syndicate. According to market research, it is an educated assumption that more than 80% of Indians do not have wills.

Brendan and Vern's thoughts on Battle of the Founders

"The competition is terrific, though it resembles similar investor processes - such as meeting with people, going through qualification, and then coming out successful (or not). Therefore, the BOTF process is effective and efficient, but has much in common with different scenarios. The best part of the whole Battle of the Founders program was that Tim and Cassie are exceptional. That is accurate, objective, and sincere. To further elaborate, this comes back to the current world and how everything is technologically driven. When human beings get involved with the right drive, framework, objective, and ethics, that makes a difference." - Brendan

"It's a well structured competition even though it's an inaugural event. The time Tim and Cassie were willing to spend in helping us to frame our problem as a pre-revenue start-up and refine our pitches was invaluable. We learned so much and gained the clarity we need to prepare us for any future investor pitches and discussions. It was such a great validation from the pitch night's judges and crowd responses, definitely a confidence boost. A battle that's highly recommended for founders who see the value in crowdfunding!" - Vern

With a strong go-to market strategy, and imminent launch, willHQ are preparing for their equity crowdfunding raise in 2023. Sign up to their waitlist to be advised of their launch date, and sign up to OnMarket to know when your opportunity to become a shareholder opens!


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