Whisbear and five other businesses were hand-picked from among 500 companies for a private meeting with Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s right hand.
Whisbear was invited for Facebook Gather 2019 conference, organized on 21-22.01.2019 in Dublin. The event brings together the most robust small and medium European businesses, selected by Facebook to create the Social Media Council. Over 500 companies were invited. Small and medium business constitute a huge advertising potential for Facebook. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the company runs a special program for them.
Twenty Polish entrepreneurs were invited to Dublin, among them Zuzanna Sielicka-Kalczyńska, Whisbear’s CEO.
Whisbear was also selected, along with only five other businesses, to showcase their products at a special expo presenting innovative solutions. It was a great honor and recognition of Whisbear’s achievements.
Later, Zuzanna and only five other participants had a chance to talk to Sheryl Sandberg, who was accompanied by Ciarán Quilty (Vice President in EMEA at Facebook) and Helen McEntee, the Irish Minister of State for European Affairs. The private meeting was informal and everyone had a chance to talk about their companies and successes.
“I told Whisbear’s history and explained our business activity,” says Zuzanna Sielicka-Kalczyńska. “Sheryl was especially interested in the Parent Assistant app we made for E-zzy the Sloth. She also wanted to know about our charity initiatives. Whisbears help infants in hospitals, pregnancy and infant caring clinics, and hospices in Poland, France, and Germany.”
Ms. Sandberg asked the participants to keep her up to date with their ideas regarding Facebook and solutions expected by small businesses. Minister McEntee wanted to know how Brexit would affect our business.
“The British market is very important to us and Whisbear is preparing a strategy for further development of the brand in the UK if it really comes to Brexit,” said Zuzanna. “However, market diversification is the key here, so the problem does not affect our entire business at once.”
Not only was E-zzy the Sloth from Whisbear presented at the expo in Dublin, but it was also a gift for Ms. Sandberg and Minister McEntee.
At the main conference Ms. Sandberg gave a speech, during which she assured the audience that data security and privacy is of utmost importance to Facebook, and how much the company learnt from past mistakes. She also emphasised that Facebook sees the potential of small and medium businesses and aims to support their development. In fact, a major part of Facebook’s income comes from such companies.
Even in this speech directed at the general audience, Ms. Sandberg mentioned Whisbear when providing examples of three businesses that began their activity on Facebook. Whisbear did begin on that social platform, when they announced the new product (i.e. the Humming Bear) and asked parents to share the post.
Moreover, Sheryl Sandberg mentioned Zuzanna and Whisbear in her Facebook post discussing the conference in Dublin:
“I met with other small business (…) like (…) Suzanna from Whisbear who was inspired by sleepless nights with her newborn son to create innovative white noise machines with her sister”.
Similarly to Zuzanna, Ms. Sandberg is a mother of three, and empathized with the problem of sleepless nights. She also admitted that she tried the white noise method to soothe her children to sleep when they were younger.
The Dublin conference was also an opportunity to meet other European enterpreneurs, who run similar businesses and every day meet similar issues like Whisbear. Everyone could share their experiences and solutions and talk about challenges young businesses face.