Wakie is an app which crowdsources strangers to wake people in the morning. Could a social alarm like Wakie replace our tried and trusted smartphone alarms?
Waking up in the morning can be a tedious task made even more difficult by the temptation of the snooze button. But what if snoozing for another 5 minutes didn’t have to be part of your morning routine? Wakie, a Russian startup, has a novel solution that is likely to not only get you out of bed faster, but could put a smile on even the most skeptical night owl’s face.
Crowsourcing wake up calls
Wakie is a social alarm which crowdsources people from the community to wake you up. All you do is set an alarm, and someone from the Wakie community will give you a wake up call at the requested time. Calls are anonymous and are automatically disconnected after 60 seconds keeping calls brief and casual. And that’s probably a good thing, after all we’re talking about wake up calls from complete strangers. While this may sound like an unusual idea, there could be something to it.
Hrachik Adjamian, Wakie’s CEO and co-founder, told Geektime: “A lot of people keep snoozing alarm clocks and still can’t wake up. The problem is that their brains do not wake up when they automatically snooze the alarm clock. Our researches [sic] show that 1 minute talk to a stranger wakes your brain up with a 99% guarantee.”
Inspiration for Wakie
Adjamian explained that he got the idea for the app when at age 16 he started his first company and was working 16 – 20 hour long days. He struggled getting up and the only thing that would wake him was a call from a stranger. For Adjamian, once he had spoken to a stranger for a few minutes he could never get back to sleep. Since it worked so well for him, Adjamian was convinced it would help others.
Changing how people wake up
But Wakie is more than just about making it easier for people to get up in the morning. The app aims to change how people wake up. “We think that we have a chance to change the way people wake up. Wake up with a smile. Wake up with a good mood and get motivation. Meet new people everyday and feel that the world consists of good people who want to help each other selflessly,” he said.
And it does seem that for some Wakie community members, the app makes waking up something to remember and laugh about. Andrew Blakeley, a Senior Social Strategist at Tribal Worldwide London, has been using the app since September last year. He explained that his experience of the app has been great so far, and added that it wakes him up much better than his alarm. It gives him a reason to get up, and not just hit the snooze button. “I’ve had some really fun wake-ups, including more than one person singing to me,” he told Geektime. Blakeley has started recording these wake up calls, one of which can be seen below.
Léna Le Rolland, a social media manager from France, has been using the app to wake people in the morning. She explained that since she is in France she can’t receive wake up calls as only people in the U.S., UK, Canada, Ireland, Singapore and Hong Kong can set alarms. Nonetheless, she said that she enjoys waking people and thinks that the app really works. Le Rolland added: “I think every call is memorable, it’s really funny to talk when someone is waking up. And since we are super far away from each other it makes it even cooler !”
Differentiating from the competition
Currently the app faces steep competition from a host of other similar services including Trigga, Morning Person, Alarmate and Wake Me Up. While all these apps position themselves as social alarms, only Wakie lets users make live calls through the app. Most of the competitors only allow users to prerecord an audio message to wake someone up with.
Founding, funding and future plans
Wakie was created by Adjamian and his brother Tatul, and launched as a closed beta in Moscow only, in April 2011. In late 2011, the app was then opened up to English speakers but facing competition from apps like Talkoclock they realized the app wasn’t ready. It took the team 3 years to perfect Wakie and it was released internationally in late 2014. The startup has raised over $3 million in funding, most recently they raised $1 million from Leta Capital and Titanium Investments. They’re looking to raise an additional $3.5 million.
The app is free to use but the startup has plans to offer premium features which would include things like the option to talk for up to 5 minutes and to view users’ profiles after the call.
The alarm of the future?
With a userbase of already over 1,700,000 users, it’s clear that Wakie is onto something. It will be interesting to see whether this app can really change the way we wake up. But perhaps more telling, will be whether this app ever completely replaces our tried and trusted smartphone alarms.