Young Entrepreneurs: Calum Leslie, Wooju
With thousands of users for his app across 54 countries, meet the 23 year-old Glasgow entrepreneur looking to build the next SkyScanner…
Name: Calum Leslie
Calum Leslie has set up three businesses, graduated with a law degree, started work on a not-for-profit and created an app which has tens of thousands of users globally; all before his 24th birthday. The term ‘impressive’ doesn’t really do him justice.
The app in question, Wooju, allows you to take a picture, ask a yes/no question and then send this to friends or the public to help you make a decision. Leslie was inspired to build the app following a conversation with an American fraternity girl while studying for the third year of his degree in Austin. Mid-sentence the girl pulled out her phone and took a picture of him, sending it to her friends to find out if they thought he was hot. Although “slightly taken aback”, it was this “real life hot or not experiment” that sparked the idea for an app which would enable people to instantly gauge a second opinion.
Fast forward to now and Leslie has captured that very experiment within his app. Enabling you to ask questions from “Should I wear this top?” to “Is this girl/guy hot?”, Leslie’s quirky app has captured the attention of social media users in 54 countries including celebrities such as Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing who turned Wooju from being “just another app to something a lot cooler”. Investors have also taken note with £100,000 angel investment and backing from IT giant Microsoft.
Having launched the company in April 2014, Leslie now employs a team of eight from his Glasgow office and is raising a further £500,000 which he expects to close at the end of this month. Ambition is something which Leslie has in abundance; he plans to take the company public with the goal to “be the next SkyScanner and help establish Scotland as a global tech hub”.
While the business is not yet revenue-making, Leslie says he is “following the Silicon Valley Model” utlitised by Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram – aiming to hit a critical mass of users before monetisation.
Given Leslie’s background, it’s a plan that may just work. Already a serial entrepreneur, aged 18, he started his first company PursuitUK which won Cisco’s National Award for IT, he then went on to set up deals site StudentUKdeals.com, and later in the US set up a P2P marketplace for sports equipment; ReQwip. While none of these businesses quite hit the spot, Leslie understands that you may need to “ride the start-up rollercoaster” for a while to achieve global success.