Conturae was launched due to our own frustrations (mainly Dan's, in fact.) He ran the marketing department for a global company and had a lot of stress finding and managing freelance writers. In our experience, writers can sometimes vary in calibre, quality and most definitely cost. We're aware that thousands of companies are having the same battle and wasting a lot of time in the process. Combine the issues of finding writers with the monetisation of low-quality, high-volume AI-generated content, and it's clear to see that our prospective customers are getting a raw deal. They're often unsure about which way to turn. Conturae fixes that.

Tell me about the business - what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers and so on?

Conturae brings ultimate simplicity to our customer base. One simple, low-cost, monthly subscription and all of your content needs are taken care of for you. High-quality, human-perfected content on autopilot. AI is revolutionary, there's no doubt, but it also brings with it a great deal of mistrust. One of the fundamentals of Conturae is transparency. There's a huge calling for high-quality content, fast and on demand. We use AI to complement the vast skills that a writer possesses, not replace them. It means we get to keep costs down for customers whilst really celebrating writers.

We have partnered with some big names in AI, but perhaps most impressively, our platform is built using no-code technology. This is a fundamental advantage because it means in a rapidly evolving landscape, the agility and flexibility of no-code mean we can pivot near instantly towards powerful, emerging technologies.
We reach customers through a varied mix of marketing. We have built our own filming and podcast studio, and these are channels which will soon get into full swing. Naturally, we also sing loud and proud about our incredible Conturae Writing Community and will continue to showcase their extraordinary talents.

How has the business evolved since its launch? When was this?

We first met back in the Summer of 2022 where Dan got a number of us together in a room to pitch an idea to us. At that point in time, it was a concept. An incredible one, but a concept all the same. Throughout last year, we began working together part-time around our existing work and family commitments, but we all went full-time at the beginning of this year, where we actively began building the platform. AI is ever-changing, and so we've evolved a number of times, even in the past few weeks. We've found that technologies we've been building with can be quickly surpassed by newer, more powerful opportunities.

Tell us about the working culture at Conturae

This actually all starts with the fact that we're a group of friends with some very different skill sets. In Dan's and my case, we've both always said we'd find a way of working together when the time was right.

Our backgrounds are varied, marketing, sales, and even policing - but each of us also has a really entrepreneurial mindset.

Naturally, we all think we're hilarious, but we also enjoy spending time together. I myself live in Wiltshire but travel down to Devon mid-week for a few days. I crash in Dan's spare room, we all socialise together and that in itself adds a really fresh, 'startuppy' vibe.

How are you funded?

We knew we were on to something and boldly went out and pitched to investors. We were able to put together a compelling proposition of how a tech startup in a massively booming industry could use AI in order to build an ethical and sustainable business model that championed human ingenuity. We pitched to 3 investors at the end of 2022, and all three backed us. This was a super exciting time, and whilst we now have a paying, fast-growing customer base, we raised investment pre-revenue, which we proudly feel is a testament to our belief in what we are creating.

What has been your biggest challenge so far, and how have you overcome this?

Easily the biggest challenge has been navigating an AI-based tech startup through an industry which is changing almost daily. We have the constant challenge on doing what is ethical - that's a huge responsibility for any company operating in the AI space right now, whilst making sure that we are always at the forefront of groundbreaking technology. Our commitment to our writing community and indeed, our stakeholders is to build an exciting, ethical, sustainable company that genuinely helps people and, in so doing, is around for many decades to come.

How does Conturae answer an unmet need?

The unmet needs are customers (companies who are actively marketing) getting a raw deal and not knowing where to turn where AI is concerned. They're overspending and spinning plates. Some have pulled their resource internally and gone down the path of mass content production with free AI tools. Most are now realising that that isn't the solution because the quality threshold is so low that their content can't be found on search engines.

What’s in store for the future?

Our future is an exciting one. And in an ever-changing AI world, it will be built on trust. We'll continue to combine skilled human beings with the very best of cutting-edge AI technology to service all of our customer's marketing needs.

What one piece of advice would you give other founders or future founders?

Get the right team around you from day one. People with the same values. There seems to be a huge mentality these days around a work-life balance that is much more biased towards not working. But that doesn't apply to startups, and the importance of building the right team in the early days, cannot be underestimated. Enjoy life for sure, but being a founder, you should expect to do the things that most people aren't prepared to. Find the people who will do crazy things like quit their jobs in order to join you and the people who will be up at 5am because they're too excited for the day ahead. Build the people, and the people build the business.

And finally, a more personal question! What’s your daily routine and the rules you’re living by at the moment?

We're up early. The best time of the day. We work hard, but we all have suffered the consequences in the past or perhaps not looking after ourselves as best we should.  So we also prioritise decompressing and spending time recharging. We're actually all quite old-fashioned when it comes to family values, and so when we're not working, you'll find us with our families.
Joe Tompkinson is the cofounder of Conturae.