A challenge issued at a White House awards ceremony in 2011 led Will Zell of Columbus to create Huddlewoo
. The fledgling company will connect what he calls “extraordinary people” --- authors, leaders, entrepreneurs, speakers, personal heroes, athletes, coaches, celebrities and YouTube sensations -- to have real face-to-face video conversations with people who admire and follow them.
The ceremony was the 2011 Empact Summit
, and Zell was recognized for his company, Providence Holdings
, which specializes in helping foster entrepreneurial startups, partnerships and acquisitions. Empact works with colleges and universities, workforce development organizations, chambers of commerce and small business development centers to promote entrepreneurship among young, aspiring entrepreneurs.
Summit keynote speaker Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of Priceline.com, challenged award recipients to come up with innovative ways for people to connect, Zell explains. “I’m constantly reading articles, stories and books about and written by fascinating people, including entrepreneurs, and I’ve often thought it would be awesome to connect and have a conversation with them.”
Zell came up with the concept of Huddlewoo to make those connections possible. Users request a “huddle” with someone they consider extraordinary and pay to have an hour of that individual’s time via a video meeting, he says. The so-called “extraordinary people” who participate in video meet ups with users through Huddlewoo establish their own rates. “Huddlewoo presents an opportunity for them to engage their followers in a unique way, potentially changing people’s lives through inspiring conversations,” Zell notes.
“Extraordinary people” are busy people who aren’t easy to access, however. Aware of the marketing challenge, Zell says he’s working diligently to spread the word and build brand recognition. “We’re sharing the value of Huddlewoo’s platform with these individuals as a way for them to engage their fans, make money and change people’s lives. It’s definitely a value-for-value proposition. The extraordinary people who participate provide the value of their time, knowledge and experience, and users who request a huddle with them bring the value of their money to the table.”
According to Zell, while there are online skill-sharing and mentoring platforms and companies that work to connect people with those they admire, Huddlewoo is unique. “No one has our comprehensive technology platform, which includes the request, payment, scheduling the conversation and providing the video components for it.”
Now about that funny name. The first part – “huddle” – refers to people huddling together, according to Zell. “The ‘woo’ part reflects an individual’s response to meeting someone extraordinary they admire,” he says. “It’s the scream of joy, jumping up and down and running around the room all excited about having made that connection.”
Source: Will Zell
Writer: Lynne Meyer