Hey guys! Startup Radius interviewed Gratify – a product that lets companies easily outsource marketing, development, design and business tasks with the help of freelancers and experts. The best thing about Gratify is availability – it’s a Slack add-on, which makes the outsourcing process as simple as possible.

Learn how previous experience helped freelancers to create an outstanding product for people with the same interests, how they grew by almost 40% over the past year, why supporting every customer is the best growth-hack, why influencer marketing matters, and more. Enjoy and read below!

Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is Gratify?

Gratify is a Slack add-on to contact freelance experts on-demand. You can hire, work with, pay, and continue working with freelancers on our network without leaving Slack. Gratify is the only Slack-first freelance platform.

Our core team is entirely remote but headquartered in NYC. We have all been freelancers at one point or another, so we’ve designed the system from the ground up from both the freelancer and client perspectives. Gratify makes it easy to find vetted experts and also includes core tools to enable seamless transactions with our experts. These tools include automated legal, 24/7 concierge, and automated invoicing.

gratify - find freelancers and experts

Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or money-making idea?

Prior to Gratify, my partner and I worked together on a project called Getwell EHR (a healthcare startup). Getwell EHR was eventually acquired in 2016. During our time on the project, we encountered many problems that were out of our skillset. We frequently needed extra help from resources we didn’t have. We thought about outsourcing work on Upwork or Craigslist, but the friction of posting, vetting, and sifting through freelancers sounded more daunting than the obstacles we were challenged with. We were already using Slack, so we wanted a way to reach out to freelancers through Slack.

Time for bragging! How big you are – traffic, users, anything else?

We have over 500 users and over 150 freelance experts available at any given time. We have grown our transaction volume by 36% over the past year. Gratify users who have a good experience on the network have a 90% chance of outsourcing more work to our network.

Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?

Our main competitors are Upwork, Toptal, Fiverr, etc. I say etc, because freelance platforms are a dime a dozen. There are so many competing platforms that all have similar functionality. These platforms grow via word of mouth, referrals, and advertising. They do not necessarily grow because they have a superior platform.

We are confident the Gratify platform is superior to our competition. If you like Slack, Gratify will likely yield an immensely convenient experience to you. With that said, superior service and convenience does not directly yield growth. We are finding that growth happens through word of mouth, great freelance matches, and delivered expectations.

Gratify - outsourcing platform

Who uses Gratify? What is your perfect buyer persona?

All Slack users! Seriously, anyone who is using Slack can use Gratify. If you’re an entrepreneur or project manager of a small to medium-size business, you’re our ideal fit. Gratify lets entrepreneurs and project managers find quality freelancers insanely fast.

If you’re working at the corporate level and using Slack, you’re an ideal fit too. Anyone who is busy and on Slack can get started outsourcing work to Gratify in a couple of clicks.

Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?

The most advantageous growth hack we’ve taken advantage of is to support each and every customer on our platform. Gratify is a Slackbot backed by AI and humans. Unlike traditionally-rigid web applications, Gratify can support users in situations that require context, like disputes or erroneous product workflows. Supporting our users in these times have yielded engagement where other web applications would likely encounter a drop-off. The flexibility of AI, humans, and web applications..combined..can help guide users toward successful transactions and support the outlier cases. It makes customers happy, it makes us happy, and it promotes organic growth.

We have tried a variety of advertising campaigns and found these to be unhelpful during our current stage of growth. At the startup/’just starting to grow’ phase, the most important factor for growth is supporting every customer.

What were some of the biggest challenges while building Gratify early on and how did you solve them?

The biggest challenge for us has always been lack of influence. We live in a hyper-informed world. We do not need to go anywhere to find news about new apps or services. They find us through influencers, ad networks, suggestions from services we’re already using, and friends. With that said, how do you organically grow your service in a hyper-informed world without being salesy and corny?

For well-known teams or founders with influence, it’s easier. Talk about your product, and if it’s actually great, fans/followers will share throughout their networks naturally.

Unfortunately, our team does not have a large influence. I have a cool 260 followers on Twitter, while my co-founder lives an even more private life than me. With Getwell EHR, our team was the first in the world to create a fully-collaborative office EHR (Electronic Health Record), but you won’t find it written anywhere except here. Accomplishments are meaningless (globally-speaking) without the right awareness campaigns. Since large amounts of organic growth comes from influencers, we have struggled to find influencers in our niche to try and talk about Gratify. 

Organic influence, by far, has been our greatest challenge.

If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?

Make your marketing as organic and personable as possible. No one wants to be sold anything.

Which marketing channels you prefer and why?

Since we are a Slack add-on, we’ve been directly referencing our freelancers to users in public Slack channels looking to hire freelancers with success. We have tried both Google and Twitter ads, but haven’t seen much conversion from them. For us, the highest conversions come from direct references and user referrals. We have an incentive program setup to reward users who share their Gratify referral link with friends.

Is Gratify monetized? Why did you choose the current monetization method?

Yes. Gratify makes money through a few different ways. First, we collect a 6% fee for most volume transacted on our network from the freelancer. Second, we charge our clients a $2 fixed-fee for any invoice paid on our network. Third, we charge our freelancers a monthly fee to access the network. We have two freelancer packages. Our starter package is $17/month for basic access to the network. Our pro package is $47/month with 0% transaction fees.

What are the top 5-10 products/services you use in your company and why do you like them?

  1. Slack – if you’ve been reading, this one is obvious 🙂
  2. Asana – we use Asana for project management and conversation management. It’s free and incredibly convenient.
  3. Gratify – we use our own service to source freelancers when we need extra help with image creation, product launches, email sequences, and more.
  4. Dashbot – this lets us chat with our users and quickly check conversation logs
  5. G Suite – we use G Suite for company email, video chat, and Google Drive (to share files both publicly and internally).
  6. Fin – Fin is an AI + human virtual assistant which helps us with a variety of administrative tasks, like booking flights and doing supplemental research.