Former Kenyan Minister Bitange Ndemo explains why he's written the…
Founded in December 2015 by Kelechi Udoagwu and Tolu Agunbiade, freelance writers and startup enthusiasts who met at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Ghana.
Describe your startup in a sentence
Skrife is an online platform that helps entrepreneurs, brands, digital agencies and startups create consistent quality content by leveraging on an exclusive community of vetted freelance writers and editors.
What problem are you aiming to solve?
From personal experience, discussions and listening to startup pitches, we noticed that a good number of businesses plan to use content marketing as a user acquisition strategy but they either don’t know how to execute on it or lack the skills to write engaging content. We also noticed that entrepreneurs and individuals who aspire to be thought leaders or contribute to global trending topics often have meaningful thoughts in their heads that they can’t always put into words.
Writing is a chore for most people but not us. So, we decided to create a platform that makes it convenient to create quality written content
How does the business work?
The way Skrife works is simple. People who need content log on to our website and place a request by filling out a short form. In the form, they tell us what type of post they need and who their audience is. We then assign the requests to the best-suited writer in our curated community.
Sometimes though, the form is not enough to understand what a client wants or what brand voice they are going for. In these cases, we follow up with calls or emails. Even though this is sometimes a manual process, it’s usually worth it because once we understand our clients’ needs, they keep coming back and we never have to repeat the process.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your team.
We [Kelechi Udoagwu and Tolu Agunbiade] met at Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology in 2014. We bonded over a shared love for writing and freelancing, and have been friends ever since. It was funny to us that we both studied Accounting in university, and now have absolutely no enthusiasm to pursue it. We noticed that we think similarly about a lot of things and have stuck together since then. Tolu is currently an Entrepreneurial Leadership Faculty member at ALU, and Kelechi is Head of Communications at MEST.
How did your startup get started?
At MEST, we got into the habit of brainstorming and sharing business concepts with each other. One day, we realized we both had a similar idea — Tolu had a client who was finding it difficult to get good freelance writers (like her) on a consistent basis and was always asking for referrals, while Kelechi had a lot of freelancer friends who constantly needed jobs. And that was the beginning of the idea that is now Skrife.
How has the company been funded so far?
Skrife was formed in December 2015 while we (Kelechi and Tolu) were in the S Factory, a spin-off from the Start-Up Chile program. We were one of two Africa startups accepted into the first generation of the S Factory and we received $15,000 equity-free funding.
Apart from the $15,000 received from the S Factory, we haven’t raised any funds. Luckily, our product makes money from day one, so we’ve mostly bootstrapped.
Are you seeking investment?
We are not actively seeking investment at this time. At this stage, our focus is on staying lean and achieving product-market fit. We want to keep our heads down and concentrate on building a product people love with minimal distractions or external pressure — investment inclusive.
Once we do hit some of our milestones and are looking to scale, we could then consider seeking investment. We intend to get to a point where we can be selective with the type of investors we approach — typically people who have been founders themselves and have experience and understanding of the market.
How successful is the business now, and what are your plans for future growth?
We’ve completed over 150 requests for 20+ clients from seven countries, including the United States, Australia, Nigeria, Ghana and Mauritius. Some brands currently using Skrife include Paystack, Ingressive, ALU Education, Tress and Start Smart.
Uptake has been promising. We have diverse clients from different industries, and are still narrowing down on who the ideal customer is. We have had clients who understand clearly what Skrife does and have been ordering content consistently (recurring) and we’ve had some wahala clients who don’t understand content marketing and want to squeeze out every possible value for their money.
We will strategize on more deliberate expansion plans at the end of next year. For now, we are focused on achieving product market fit and conquering Anglophone Africa.
Finish this sentence. In 2020, Africa will be…
A hotbed of home-grown innovation. We see so much creativity, hunger and drive around us on a daily basis and have no doubt that Africa’s youthful generation is going to change the continent as we know it.
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