Time flies when you’re launching a SaaS startup. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s how the saying goes.
At this time last year, nDash made its official platform debut at HubSpot’s Inbound conference (we spent the previous years as an award-winning content agency). Now I’m usually not one for overt self-promotion, but if The Simpsons can celebrate their 138th episode, then we can recap our first year in business. So with that in mind, here’s a quick look back at a few achievements from the last twelve months, along with a glimpse of what to expect in 2018 and beyond.
The Growth of Our Writer Community
We launched nDash to attract and reward the world’s best writers (not the cheapest), so it’s been incredibly rewarding to see our community grow with engineers, CMOs, lawyers, architects, and countless other professionals looking to write expert-level content. A scroll through our community will also show writers who’ve contributed to publications like TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Forbes, Dark Reading, and hundreds more—not something you’d likely see on a content mill.
We’ve also been incredibly thrilled to see the average price per assignment stay firmly in the range of $150-$185. When launching a services marketplace, there’s always a fear of it becoming a race to the bottom. Still, thanks to the caliber of writers and brands (more on them in a second), we’ve stayed true to our vision of being a content platform geared towards quality. As a proof-point: If current trends maintain until the end of the year, the top three writers in the nDash platform will easily exceed $250,000 in combined yearly earnings—again, something you’d probably never see at a typical content mill.
Adoption by Leading Brands & Agencies
In addition to our goal of obtaining the world’s best writers, we also wanted to attract the world’s leading brands. While we have a long way to go, it’s been extremely encouraging to see the likes of ThriveHive, TechTarget, Coldwell Banker, and hundreds of B2B tech companies use nDash to scale the content creation process.
Aside from the individual brands, we’ve seen great adoption from marketing agencies all around the world—from the North Shore of Massachusetts to Tel Aviv and beyond. Having been an agency ourselves for many years, we know the struggles that come with delivering high-quality content to clients. Since we built the nDash platform around agencies specifically (hence the debut at Inbound), it’s no surprise that we’ve caught on well in this space.
Press & Prestige
Year 1 wasn’t all about hard metrics around revenue and users. Here’s a quick list of other notable wins:
- Getting Accepted into the MassChallenge Accelerator: nDash was chosen out of a pool of more than 1,500 companies to participate in one of the world’s most exclusive startup accelerators. Though we didn’t take home the ultimate prize, we made a ton of great connections, learned a lot about the startup world, and buttoned up our business plan heading into 2018.
- Getting Featured in the News: There was a feature on BostInno, VentureFizz, and dozens of blogs. There was also a live TV appearance on NECN. See below.
- Presenting at StartupWeek, HubWeek Demo Day, Mass TLC Growth Conference, and others
- Adding Talent: We recently brought on Matt Solar, one of the early employees at uTest/Applause, to run marketing and community.
The first year of nDash was all about launching and refining the MVP version of our platform (the ground-breaking stuff will come soon). During this time, our talented development team—led by CTO Andre Wehe—launched a number of new features designed to enhance the user experience for brands, agencies, and writers. This included things like open pitch requests, public writer profiles, messaging, brand metrics, and many more. We also built a referral feature from the ground up, which gives users a lifetime royalty for any company they get to sign up to the nDash platform.
Based on your feedback, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve validated our MVP and original hypothesis, so now it’s on to bigger and better things…
We’re not going to divulge too much information except to say that the use case for nDash is going to expand significantly in 2018 and beyond, both for brands and writers.
- For Brands: Giving them the tools they need to scale content creation like that of a major publication or news outlet
- For Writers: Giving them the tools they need to cash in on their expertise and to find clients who value their experience and insights
Ultimately, the version of nDash you see now is but a small piece of the puzzle. We can’t wait to show you more.
Launching a startup is incredibly challenging. Launching a two-sided marketplace in a highly competitive space on a bootstrapped budget? It’s almost unheard of. So with that in mind, I’d like to close this post with a sincere thank-you to everyone who played a part in our modest success in this first year—our writers, customers, partners, advisors, and employees.
We’re looking forward to bigger and better things in 2018, and we’re excited to have you be a part of it.