The Story of Scrattch: One of the World's Most Innovative Startups
Guest post by Louise Donnelly-Davey, serial entrepreneur and Founder of Scrattch, a platform which seeks to streamline the way users search, store and share the vast amount of information accessed each day across the internet through the application of an online virtual filing system. Scrattch has just been named in the GEW 50, a list of the world's 50 most innovative new companies, compiled by the Global Entrepreneurship Week as part of the Startup Open, a competition that recognizes startups with high-growth potential.
We were thrilled to be named in the GEW 50 last week as one of the only companies from New Zealand featured.
I had the idea for Scrattch over 12 months ago and have been working on it ever since. I have since added two new co-founders (developers) to the team and we are set for launch at the end of this month.
Before having children (I now have three aged ten and under) I spent a fair bit of time at University. I don’t think I really ever knew exactly what I wanted to do or be. Nothing seemed to fit. I ended up with qualifications in Criminology, Education and Public Policy after spending a total of 6 years at Uni. I then went on to work for various corporates, none of which provided me with any significant fulfillment.
After the birth of my second child I started my first real business, a clothing design company. We did well and after reaching an international market I decided that the overheads were far too high and that this particular venture, although fun, was never going to enable myself and my family to be financially secure.
I went on to create a successful online social network for people in the kids product industry, which was subsequently sold and is still going today.
After the sale of my social network I felt lost. And it wasn’t until myself and a friend embarked on an online magazine MAEVE, for the 30-40 year old female demographic that I felt right again. It was then that I realized that I needed to be creating something, that I was not fulfilled when I wasn’t being innovative. MAEVE was sold and I then went on to create Scrattch.
A bit about what we are doing...
We saw a problem... one which was frustrating and one which was not being tackled properly by any other bookmarking or archiving platforms.
Imagine an International library, whereby anyone could donate books, magazines, videos or any manner of data to the general pool of information available. Next, imagine that the curator of this International library was never allowed to organsise, categorise or file any of the donated material into any sort of semblance for users to browse. The curator was simply allowed to accept information and pile it up, row after row, floor to ceiling. Every now and then he was allowed to promote a few items that he considered interesting or that people had paid him to keep at the front.
Every time a user entered the library to search for a book or another piece of information they would struggle through the first two rows of the available material, perhaps they would find what they wanted, perhaps they wouldn’t. They eagerly grabbed at some of the items that the curator had highlighted in the hope that this would satisfy their needs.
The internet is not dissimilar. 22 years in the making. Each and every day new data gets added to the mounting repository of information.
Each and every day a user will attempt to find information that best matches their requirements. Unfortunately, the material that is returned on searches is often lacking in relevance and substance. But we accept that the traditional search engines hold the answers to our needs.
Our solution.... Scrattch – Search. Store. Share is an online research, storage and sharing system designed to streamline the way internet users search, store and share the vast amount of information accessed each day across the internet.
The massive amounts of data we consume each day on the internet is hard to keep track of, URL’s get moved, sites get archived or deleted, important information is often lost in amongst the chaos. More than one billion new pages are added to the Internet each day. In just 60 seconds more than 1500 blog posts, 600 YouTube videos and 6,600 Flickr photos are added to the mounting repository of data available online.
Lots of noise. How do you find the message?
Scrattch alleviates this pain by enabling users to add their favourite web findings to their own virtual library, then share their favourites with others in the Scrattch community or keep their findings private. Scrattch also allows users to add their own unique content to their Scrattch library, create or join groups within the community and form discussions around topics of interest.
Scrattch is about bringing people together in a social forum over common interests and not common friends.
Scrattch differs from many other bookmarking, archiving and data storage systems in many ways. Scrattch is leveraged for maximum social interaction, Scrattch enables the user to add their own unique content, take their content offline and; Scrattch is built on a simple platform which is easy to learn and intuitive to use. Scrattch is aimed at the educated internet browser, someone who regularly searches for great content on the net and who is confident in the web 2.0, semantic web or social media.
Scrattch is fundamentally dedicated to creating meaningful context around your most important data. We are passionate about our mission. We see the internet as it is today as a throw away society.
We want to change the way people interact with the web. Bringing back a sense of ownership and contentment, quality over quantity.
We have had a busy year, being finalists in the ANZ Business Plan Competition and finalists in the Unlimited Magazine (Fairfax) Investment Challenge. As a result of the Investment Challenge we will be pitching to a group of investors at the end of this month.
And we have not even launched yet.
Louise has a degree in Criminology and a Masters in Public Policy, has successfully exited 3 businesses and is the original Founder of Scrattch, launching at the end of October 2012. Prior to stepping out on her own she worked for some of New Zealand's biggest corporates in New Ventures and started her professional career as an intern at the Ministry of Economic Development in their CapitalMarkets team. Lou has 3 children 10 and under and spends her weekends at the local ski fields.
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