WishFree.com: Zak Shah
Online daily prize site
Tell us what your business does:
WishFree.com offers daily prizes that are, literally, “up for grabs”. Players must hit the “GRAB” button to seize the prize from other players. Games last 20 minutes and the more grabs made, the higher the chance of winning. It’s about adapting to win.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Initially, I wanted to create a fun and innovative concept that would spread rapidly in a short amount of time as a way of generating an audience and boosting awareness for another platform I had in the pipeline. I decided to go viral – creating WishFree.com – not realising it would offer opportunities above and beyond my original platform, replacing it completely. I haven’t looked back since!
How did you know there was a market for it?
There will always be a market for free products that would, ordinarily, cost people hundreds of pounds. I did my research and found that there was a gap in the market for interactive daily deals, so I decided to combine the daily deal concept with a click-to-win competition format that creates an entertaining and interactive gaming experience. As long as the system is fair for all, everyone will give it a go because there really is nothing to lose.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was running my own Q&A website which received 40,000 unique visits per day. However, this was short-lived, because the information being shared had a very short-life span in Google searches. I knew there was the potential to start something really exciting that would create an online community in the millions, not just the thousands, which wasn’t reliant on Google.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Always. I’m 22 and have already achieved so much, and this is only the beginning. I have a passion for what I do and I don’t ever intend to stop. If making people happy is part of that then even better!
How did you raise the money?
I will soon be receiving one million pound seed funding.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The Internet seems to have no limits these days. As a result you’ll always get fraudsters, so you won’t always get the real deal. I’m passionate about WishFree.com, and want others to share that passion. But instilling such belief is probably the hardest task purely because of all the scepticism out there, particularly because of the nature of this industry. I continue to promote a fair system through WishFree.com and that speaks for itself.
How much do you charge?
It’s completely free to play.
What was your first big breakthrough?
I’d have to say it was gaining 10,000 users in the initial aftermath of the official launch. What is most exciting about this is that since then many of the users have been inviting their friends and family to play too. Our customer base is growing day on day and it’s all down to personal referrals – I’d say that’s a pretty big breakthrough!
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Never give up on what you believe in. It’s a tough business world out there with even tougher nuts to crack in the form of your customers, fans and critics. But stand your ground and maintain the belief you’ve had from the start, regardless of where you’re at in your journey. After all, it’s got you this far. Persevere, plan hard and go for it.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I’d love for WishFree.com to be the top online gaming brand out there, known by all in the online gaming community – and beyond for that matter! I know that by living by my mantra (that I’ve talked about above) that each day is progress towards making this happen.