This Dutch proofreading startup offers students academic support that gets results

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This Dutch proofreading startup offers students academic support that gets results

Eight years ago, three friends Bas, Richard, and Koen were making the most of student life in Tilburg. When they weren’t in class or doing what students do best (drinking), they were proofreading each other’s essays and theses, as you do...

Editing each other’s work, however, wasn’t exactly a choice — there just simply weren’t any decent proofreading services in the Netherlands. So, with their fresh university knowledge in business and marketing, and a whole lot of entrepreneurial spirit, the trio decided to jump on the opportunity to fill a gap in the market and founded Scribbr in 2012. 

Since then, the startup has grown from 5 people in a €300 per month anti-squatting office in Tilburg to a modern 40 desk office at TQ in the center of Amsterdam. 

Last year, it was ranked the 14th fastest growing startup in the Netherlands in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50. It was also ranked as the 22nd fastest growing company on the 2018 FD Gazellen list. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, it was ranked 98th in the 2018 Financial Times 1000: a list of Europe’s fastest growing companies.

Scribbr's plant-filled office

“None of this would be possible without our freelance editors"

As Molly LaBrode, Scribbr’s HR Manager explained to me, the company’s success would not be feasible without the help of freelancers. While their HQ team at TQ is comprised of around 50 employees across operations, customer support, finance, development, and marketing, “it’s the 500+ freelance editors that make the real magic happen,” revealed Molly.

Working on all continents of the world, except for Antarctica, it doesn’t matter what time of day or how fast a student wants their work proofread — Scribbr is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

Our service includes feedback from editors linking to our knowledge base articles, so students can learn from their language and structural errors.

Relying on freelancers isn’t always easy though, explained Molly. “Because they’re freelance, we can’t require them to work for us. So, the moment the sun's shining in a certain location, suddenly no one's available anymore.” 

To get past this challenge, Scribbr is all about giving freelancers a comfortable working environment. “We provide our editors with a flexible and remote work schedule, automatic invoicing, full-time work during busy periods, a large and international editor community, and a company they can be proud to work with to help students graduate,” explained Molly.

Helping students achieve their academic goals

It's not just a proofreading and editing service that Scribbr provides. They also have a plagiarism checker, their very own APA Citation Generator, as well as a knowledge base filled with tons of information to ensure students receive thorough support. 

Scribbr's editors are only native speakers and language experts, and they provide the service in ten languages including English, Dutch, German, and French. As Molly described: "Our service includes feedback from the editor with links to our knowledge base articles, so students can learn from their language and structural errors."

And they're not slowing down anytime soon

“Well, we’re not planning on not hiring anytime soon,” declared Molly when I asked her about Scribbr’s growth plans. “However, the happiness and satisfaction of our HQ team and our 500+ freelancers editors is an essential component of our business, so we’re focussed on moving at a pace that’s sustainable and not too fast.”

The Scribbr team at their headquarters at TQ, Amsterdam

If the happy faces around TQ or on Scribbr's company boat say anything about the startup's culture, it looks like whatever they're doing is working. It's safe to say they get an A+ from me!

If you're reading this article, you're probably someone who’s interested in tech and startups. And, if you have a startup of your own, you might be eligible to become a resident too. Apply now — if accepted, you'll be surrounded by the best.