Who are you?
My name is Joseph Petrie. I am the founder of Scriverto AI – a tech product startup which aims to change the way people write articles.
I was a teenage coder but went into electronics, spent years in product and digital marketing, particularly of semiconductors and power electronics.
I graduated four times in electronics, business management and marketing, from Salford University, Reading Business School, Henley Business School and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
I love working with many nationalities across the world – particularly with the Japanese, and now I am trying to get used to Sri Lankan humour as well.
What are you working on?
Scriverto AI aims to change the way people write articles.
My occasional freelance tech writing for PR firms on technical topics exposed me to the laborious manual process of researching an article, which can take hours.
Scriverto scans the Internet and uses natural language processing to research topics and generate candidate content for journalists, SEO content writers, marketers and PR writers.
Scriverto does hours of research in just a few minutes, seeking to cut the time to create an article by half.
Right now, companies are working on automatic generation of finished articles, but the future is digital assistance.
In contrast, Scriverto aims to save time and labour but leave the creativity to the human.
How did you find the recent Techcelerate practice pitch event?
Presenting at the Techcelerate practice pitch was fantastic. It is an excellent exercise to be forced to articulate your whole mission clearly in only five minutes. Presenting to an audience made up mostly of fellow entrepreneurs was incredibly useful – a supportive and engaged audience who understand what you are trying to achieve and are able to provide constructive feedback.
That wasn’t my first pitch but it was definitely the most constructive – I left feeling in a stronger position than I arrived. It was also a great opportunity to become more engaged with the Techcelerate community and I also hooked up with someone who totally understood what Scriverto was about and was interested to become a pilot user. Awesome.
How have you funded the business to date?
Up to now, I have bootstrapped Scriverto out of my own pocket. Most of the development I have done myself with occasional hiring of contractors to solve specific tasks such as the addition of a payment gateway and the integration of a customer account database. This has made progress slower and required a lot of learning on my part.
But, it does mean I understand the platform completely and I am in full control of its development. Changes to the platform can be fast – either because I do the work myself or because I am able to explain to a contractor exactly what needs doing and how I want it to be done. However, at some point the maintenance and development will need to be delegated to a full-time team, leaving me to focus on growing the business and evangelising.
How have you built your team?
The core Scriverto team remains just me plus occasional contractors. The advisory team consists of two experienced startup CEOs Dan Cathie and Chris Whyley who were already known to me and also Professor Robert Dale, an eminent professor of natural language systems whom I approached speculatively and was delighted he agreed to be an advisor after our first meeting in The Eagle pub in Cambridge, where Watson and Crick famously announced they had found the structure of DNA
What do the next 12-18 months look like?
The MVP has just been launched, including a payment gateway. The next job is to work closely with pilot users to shape a product that customers love and cannot live without.
Strong traction with users should generate significant revenue and attract the investment to finance rapid growth and further product improvements.
Why did you join Techcelerate?
I joined Techcelerate to become part of a community of like-minded individuals who could support my journey with their own enthusiasm and experiences. Being part of Techcelerate means I get my finger on the pulse of the Manchester tech startup scene and pick up nuggets of wisdom.
At the Tech Show North exhibition organised by Prolific North, somebody asked me how I got my pilot users. When I listed them it became obvious that nearly every single one of them I acquired either directly or indirectly as a result of being a member of Techcelerate.
I also expect Techcelerate to help Scriverto AI execute smarter and acquire investment faster.