2014: Creating a Brand
In the summer of 2014, Alexander and some of his friends were trying to think of a brand name for an application that would be the “Instagram for sound”. While eating a piece of watermelon, Alexander was inspired to do something different and came up with a name for his brand: Watermelon.
After six months, he had the idea to create a dashboard for companies to use WhatsApp with. The connection with the name ‘Watermelon’ came instantly. “Think of account managers being farmers and offering subscriptions called ‘Grocery store and vegetable garden.’”
2015: Our First Business
In February 2015 Watermelon started to take shape: the software was being developed, and Alexander and one of his partners were working on business plans and extending the brand. The software became a Minimal Viable Product in June of 2015 and the company went live.
We gave away 600 kilograms of Watermelon in the city centre of our hometown, Utrecht. We got a lot of media attention and the brand was set: our first business was a real thing. After rapid growth and receiving several investments, we’d get a letter in March 2016 that would change everything.
2016: Our First Failure
In March 2016 Watermelon received a letter from WhatsApp’s lawyers that was devastating to some of the partners. WhatsApp continued to block phone numbers. In July 2016, we went bankrupt because our tool wasn’t working properly anymore.
We’ve learned a lot from the mistakes we’ve made with Watermelon. Despite the bankruptcy, the brand was still alive and the press saw us as heroes “fighting against the big boys”. This gave Alexander the idea to take control of the brand.
2016: Launching A Long Term Vision
In August 2016, Watermelon Ventures was founded by Alexander Wijninga. After spending over a year thinking of a long term strategy, he finally had the chance to expand this strategy with a long term vision.
With the Watermelon brand and his vision, Alexander brought together highly skilled entrepreneurs to be part of his journey, to invest in him and in Watermelon Ventures.