Waaraya - I was here, I existed, I mattered... - Demium

Waaraya – I was here, I existed, I mattered…

Waaraya co-founders

Would you ever consider having messages forwarded to your loved ones after you pass? If you feel you still have things left to say or share with them, Waaraya was designed specifically to make sure your future messages are safely and promptly delivered to their recipients. Waaraya, which stands for “immortal” in Somali language, is an atypical app bound to become your emotional life insurance, just in case…
We sat down with Mayte and Fernando, co-founders, to find out more about their project.

Getting to know Waaraya

Q: What’s the story behind your name?

We are Waaraya which stands for “immortal” in Somali. We chose this name to match our mission which lies in eternalizing and perpetuating the good things in life like feelings, thoughts, memories and people. Over the short term, we work with what we call emotional legacy. This is a product born out of reflection; if I were to die tomorrow, have I told everyone everything I wanted to say? Will they remember me the way I want them to? The answer is “no”, most likely. At Waaraya, we believe this happens because we find it hard to express our feelings to the people we love; one reason would be fear or shyness. All that makes even more sense during this ongoing Covid-19 pandemic crisis. Death normally seems so far away but we are currently becoming more aware that we may lose our beloved at anytime, or we could perish too. 

Q: How do you solve that problem?

Our platform enables the user to leave as many messages as they want to the recipients they choose; messages that will be delivered on an exact day or during a specific event. Imagine you have a little daughter and you want to leave a message for her, on her 18th birthday; not necessarily because you won’t be there; you just want her to have this special message delivered to her on her special day. You could do the same for someone’s wedding day, without having the exact date. In cases like this one, the confidant would be the person to take your message and deliver it, following the death of the sender. Waaraya helps you to create a video message, audio message or just a written message. We would give you a set of questions to reply in order to create this message. Imagine for example you would like to send a video message to your sister; we would invite you to reflect on how you would like to do that via a series of questions that will make your message as nice and warm as you would want it to be. Then, we would save the message and deliver it to the person you chose at the appropriate time.

Q: What’s the biggest success you’ve had so far?

Fernando: The fact that we took so little time to develop our project. We started back in November (2020) and we have already released our beta product which we’re presently perfecting. Users can leave messages though, and add dates. 

Mayte: I agree. I think having started with the other project proved beneficial; it really boosted our growth from the point of view of validation, document preparation, etc. I would also like to highlight that to this present day I never lost sight of where we stand and the team we have. Besides me and Fernando, there are three more people who work at Waaraya: our community manager, who has grasped really well the notion behind Waaraya; this is reflected in his writing where he transmits the emotional part of the project. We also have a UX/UI professional who has a strong resume and fits perfectly in the team. Last but not least, our CTO who has met and exceeded our expectations. One of the things we value most, is that all members of our team should believe in the project and feel willing to develop it. And we do think we have that, in the team we’ve chosen.

Mayte Montes and Luiz Fernando Brazão, Waaraya co-founders.
Mayte Montes and Luiz Fernando Brazão, Waaraya co-founders.

Demium & Waaraya

Q: Why did you decide to start your company with Demium?

Mayte: During the 2020 lockdown, I was in Cordoba (Spain) studying for my Master’s Degree while working in business consulting. Demium Founder Jorge Dobón, was one of the people I met in my course. I had watched one of his interviews and that woke up my curiosity about Demium and your mission. Entrepreneurship was already strolling at the back of mind because I’ve always felt the startup world was my thing, but I had never actually tried to set up one. I decided to apply for the Incubation Program and I got accepted. It helped me a lot because I did lack the experience and having had Demium as my mentor, things just started to flow. The change was radical for me: I moved to Malaga and joined the startup world. 

Fernando: My story is an interesting one. I came to Malaga as a tourist in February 2020 with my parents. My brother has lived here for seventeen years now; the idea was to visit him for a few days and fly back to Brazil after spending some time with him. But, because of the pandemic outbreak, we were never able to return home. That was when I heard about Demium, I applied for the Incubation Program and I met Mayte. I never thought about going back to Brazil; you could say that thanks to the pandemic I joined Demium and ended up living here.

Q: How was your experience in the incubation programme?

Mayte: I feel it has helped me a great deal because I lacked so much experience in the startup world. Demium gave me that background knowledge I needed and has guided our every step. Entrepreneurship is not a path strewn with roses but I regret nothing. 

Fernando: I had already joined another Incubation Program back in Brazil, so I was familiar with the process but having said that, I must highlight that the Demium way is unique. I’m thrilled to have met so many amazing people which I think has notably stimulated my personal growth.

Q: How do you feel Demium has helped you?

Fernando: I’ll always be grateful for Demium. Had it not been for you all, I’d be in Brazil. Demium helped me grow on a personal and entrepreneurial level. 

Mayte: I feel the same way. Demium gave me the tools and the basis I needed to launch our startup. There’s one thing that stands out and I value highly: the entrepreneur community we found and gladly joined, and the Demium team itself. Ramon, the Head of Incubation Program at Demium Malaga, always uses the word “family” and he’s right; we do stand by one another.  

Q: Think about where you were before you started with Demium, and tell us your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs or someone considering starting their own thing.

Mayte: In my case, I had discarded the option of starting a business by myself. I felt I lacked the experience. That’s why Demium is your best shot. They will be there for you invariably, at all times; they will explain the methodology and the process. If you’re on your own, it’s difficult to meet deadlines without guidance and steady growth. If you think entrepreneurship is right for you, join Demium, seek their advice. And you’ll quickly notice the difference it’ll make for your business. 

Fernando: There’s a quote I really love, and it goes like this: “if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” And that’s exactly what Demium is all about: joining a community of skilled professionals and accomplished experts, and becoming a deep-seated part of it.


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