Start-up Stories: Scribeless

The Basecamp Enterprise Team caught up with Bristol University alumni and entrepreneur Rob Van Den Bergh. Rob co-founded Scribeless, who recently won the Santander Entrepreneurship Award 2019, and has been involved with Basecamp initiatives and events since he was a student at Bristol. Watch the video to hear about his start-up story with the Basecamp Enterprise Team, his experiences of winning the Santander Entrepreneurship Awards and his top-tips for anyone thinking of beginning their own start-up journey.

Tell us about yourself and your business

My name is Robert Van Den Bergh, and I’m a co-founder at Scribeless. At Scribeless, we help organisations better engage their customers through the power of the handwritten letter. We fully automate that process to help them do so in a more scalable, efficient and affordable fashion. We started it while at University of Bristol with help from Basecamp and we’re now two years in and just recruited a lot of people, and we’re starting to grow.

How have you been involved with the Basecamp Enterprise Team?

Robert Van Den Bergh collects his award from Susan Allen, Head of Retail and Business Banking at Santander UK, and Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities

I started coming to Basecamp in my first year at University which was 2014. Back then it was a little bit different, but essentially they had workshops and lectures like they do now, and competitions. I just started entering different ideas that I had, and basically got support from them to develop those ideas; then throughout university I ended up working at Basecamp in my final year helping to run it with Jack Farmer, who now runs a company called LettUs Grow which is doing very well. Essentially throughout that time what it allowed me to do was just test my ideas, develop different areas of what you need in starting a business, from pitching to understanding IP to financing.

Having won the Santander Entrepreneurship Awards, how did you find the experience?

The Santander Entrepreneurship Competition was fantastic. We didn’t expect to win it but it was really good throughout the three rounds of the competition. Essentially what it allowed us to do was to somewhat consolidate our idea, give support again in areas such as raising investment, HR, all the areas that slowly help when you get top ups for better understanding.

How did you find Basecamp’s support?

In terms of how Basecamp helped, they were there every step of the competition, they gave support in pitching, and basically just whenever I had a question, whenever I needed anything, they were just one call away.

What next for Scribeless?

In terms of next steps for Scribeless, we’re currently expanding our team and recruiting. We recently raised investment and relaunched our platform; that’s growing across the UK and in the US, and we’re just going to start helping more businesses better engage their customers and see how many we can help.

How did you develop your pitching skills?

Group work at pitching workshop run by Rob Van Den Bergh

Throughout my time at university, especially with Basecamp, I ended up pitching probably 20 or 30 times across Basecamp competitions, workshops and national competitions all over the place. That’s the only way I figured out how to do it. The only way you figure out how to do it is by doing it.

Do you have any top tips for budding entrepreneurs?

The top tips I would give to someone starting their own businesses – just try it! That’s all. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re probably going to do it wrong, but the quicker you try it the quicker you figure out what you’re doing wrong and how you can make that better to get out there.

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