My big idea: content creation platform Origin Hope
Hi! What's your elevator pitch?
Many organisations struggle to find capable and reliable content partners to help them execute their plans. Origin Hope was built to solve this exact problem for its clients.
We provide the ability to create content, in any format, and any volume, at any speed and in any language, 40 to 95% cheaper than anything else on the market.
Our goal is to accelerate the production of high-quality content. To do this, we combine human-led editorial excellence with automation tools, generative AI, certification, workflows and tools as global leaders in content technology.
Why does the market need Origin Hope?
The basic limitation on content creation is that it is hard and difficult to pull off at a high quality for a long period of time. Experimentation is risky, because the cost, time and potential impacts on morale are too high.
Origin Hope destroys that barrier to content output. Just as we reimagined content creation, our clients can reimagine their own strategies.
Traditional approaches to content creation have several shortcomings. Keeping everything in-house is expensive, and outside options can also be slow, inflexible, limited by skillset and require far too much management.
It is, however, hard to strike the right balance when outsourcing. Companies are usually pressured to choose quality but pricey, or cheap but bad. And when you finally meet a super freelancer who hits the sweet spot, their rates double, or they get a job, or they take a sabbatical.
Content creation has not fundamentally changed. When pens came along, they took the place of quills. When computers came along, typewriters were swapped out for keyboards, and paper for a screen. When spellcheck came along, did it save people time on checking work? Yes, a little, but far less so at the professional level. Did it lower the standard of spelling and grammar for professionals? No. The point being, it’s a market that’s rarely innovated, with untapped potential. Innovative ideas have largely been championed by people with a poor - or at least hollow - understanding of content creation, while those with the latter consider open discussion a sacrilege, even as the edifice crumbles around them.
At Origin Hope, we feel content production, or content production assistance, should be as easy a line in accounts – just like rental of office space, cloud storage or any other baseline expense. It should be consistent, silent, reliable and unimpeachable.
Where is the business today?
We are in pursuit of greater traction: more customers, more revenue.
Everyone’s “heard it before” from content solutions. So, for nearly four years, we’ve tested applications, refined language, learned client behaviour and proved our model could work, producing content of any kind, anywhere.
We steadily built revenue and use cases, and developed our tech, to demonstrate beyond doubt the proof of our original vision.
- Daily automated content covering football in Danish? Esports news in Portuguese for the Brazilian market? Yes.
- Pitching stories, interviewing sources and submitting features for major Asian newspapers? Yes.
- Technical marketing content for complex B2B industries? Yes.
- Hyper-local news pieces for US DMAs? Tens of thousands.
- SEO-friendly B2B content? Ranking top in target Google alerts.
- Youtube and TikTok reversioning of Webinars, podcasts, and other assets? Handle the editing for your YouTube, TikTok, IG and other channels so you can focus on the big picture.
-Make cornerstone longform SEO content and optimise pages in a hypercompetitive affiliate market? Yes, yes and yes!
In Q2 2022, we then rebranded, cut unscalable clients, formalised internal processes, and made a plan to build traction. Revenue continued to grow hugely despite our public news, social media and website blackout as word-of-mouth spread. In January 2023, we relaunched the brand.
This is just the end of the beginning of Origin Hope phase one. It is time for investors and public attention. Our first marketing testing was in February. We have a big announcement coming, then focus turns to investor conversations, as well as the standard focus on revenue.
What made you think there was money in this?
What Origin Hope offers is necessary to move the future of content forward.
We do not have competitors that are trying to do exactly what we do. Traditional content outsourcing options do not address any fundamental problems – content startups seek or offer minor efficiency gains to drive revenue and fund an exit.
As for those in the tech pile; they tend to fall into one of two emerging bubbles.
First is the tools bubble: turning something into a tool and selling access to it (ChatGPT, Jasper, Grammarly). While these have some impressive elements, the difficult part about employing technology like AI is deploying a solution that is 99.9% reliable or as close to that as possible. Grammarly, for instance, is a wondrous tool. But once you reach grades of 85-90% the level of writing suffers dramatically the further you push that up.
Second, is the full automation crowd, where no human input is required. We have partners who said this, and even as they automated more it became clearer that they would always need humans.
What's your biggest strength?
We have thought through every single stage of a client’s journey with us, from how they change by working with us, and how their future is likely to evolve. We exist to ease their pain points.
Our ability to find, use, train, develop and fashion careers from untapped talent pools is critical to differentiating us long-term. I designed a system to benefit every single stakeholder, from local governments to developing countries’ wishes for talent development to local firms’ hunger for developed talent to the talent themselves.
On top of that is the generative AI and tools. They are proprietary, they are special, and they are adaptive. If someone came out tomorrow with an automation that rendered all that redundant and killed every business off, we’d be able to evolve in about a day - so we are not just automation-proof: it’s a scenario that would gain us huge advantage.
What is the secret to making the business work?
I’ll answer in two parts: general and specific
General. I believed so completely in what I was doing that I reached the conclusion that I could not continue with life or a career without effecting what I saw as the necessary change to enable the emancipation of human creativity and avert the collapse or corruption of the free press.
It became clear to me that what I thought was obvious was just not going to happen unless I did it myself. I felt I had a duty to journalism, to creativity in all its expression, and to myself, to do this.
You need absolute self-belief and a willingness to deal with a bit of ridicule. And you need to endure and enjoy the failures that help carve a path to making the thing you believe in happen. I have witnessed plenty of successful entrepreneurs wallowing at the same level for their inability to self-assess.
The emergent challenges of starting a business in the past few years really defined us – everything we did was hard and painful for a long time. Our biggest challenge now is the process of gaining traction. To hit the sort of explosive growth and adoption we hope for requires a lot of work.
Specific. What makes Origin Hope special is how we blend human brilliance with supportive tools to make content teams as fast as the most efficient newsroom on the planet. It is an accessible, scalable content-as-a-service solution that works at an attainable cost point for businesses of all sizes.
We are able to recruit, train, certify, and deploy human teams in low cost of living, high quality of life parts of the world, paying them well above comparative local wages and offering a pathway to rapid career progression.
Then, we have our own proprietary generative AI capabilities, fully automated newsfeeds, and an array of automation functions that we are in discussions to start licensing to enterprise clients.
We are also able to support firms with getting their tech to market, integrating with it and advising on their development, which helps keep us at the leading edge of content technology.
Origin Hope approaches the relationship between humans and technology as the fundamental linkage that will define how creative and productive performance is achieved now that AI has reached public prominence. We just started doing it a long time ago and built universal training, certification, AI and tools around that relationship.
How do you market the company?
The best way to pursue marketing is to force yourself into meaningful experiments and challenge your assumptions.
Pick a philosophy that suits your character and/or your need to counteract aspects you worry about and stick to it. There are many ways to skin a cat, but once you pick a way, see it through.
Focusing on having something worth buying also simplifies the marketing task. When having conversations, I make sure I go away with something I can make for a prospect or client, no matter how diverse or specific: then we do it and revert. Usually, the process takes care of itself from then on.
I expect to learn a lot more about how to market Origin Hope specifically, and I hope to always keep testing.
Where are you on your funding journey? What funding do you have? Is it enough? Are you going out for further funding?
We have never received funding. Other than my own cash injections, all our cash has come from sales. However, we are preparing to seek funding for the first time in the coming months now that our stealth bootstrap has served its purpose to prove our theories.
Tell us about the business model
We create profit by seeking out cost and efficiency savings en masse.
Behind the scenes, we constantly tailor how we do things to individual scenarios and adjust SOP and AI models where applicable. This means that once we have a tech/production stack running, we constantly seek out efficiency gains and can take advantage of tech by virtue of our approach, workflow and wider efficiencies that competitors cannot effectively harness.
Our profit margins are and will be between 50-90%. However, as we scale I know we will both find increased productivity gains and acquire overheads. If I see a need to do something that will push that way down to 25% that makes sense for the long term, I will do that without a second thought. Crucially, that 50-90% range is always there to revert to.
What were you doing before?
Prior to Origin Hope, I restructured the content operations of media conglomerates in Asia. The work I did at the last one included devising training methods, lessons, lectures, workflows, and processes from scratch, and then delivering those in multiple languages.
I had the freedom to rebuild a system. All processes went out the window and I worked from the ground up. While I had the freedom, I had no budget, so I had to use everything available. The daily content consumed by 8% of the world’s population, and 15% of the world’s young people, is created at least in part by processes I created. I was able to deliver great value to my employers and felt I had unlocked the final secret to what would become Origin Hope.
That conglomerate became the dominant entity in its home region and signalled to me it was time to see my ideas through to their conclusion and create something to solve the great content production problem and the (as I saw it, wholly unnecessary) decline of journalism.
I have been a journalist since I was 8. I worked every holiday I had in some capacity – if not directly in journalism then in some marketing or business growth function. I got internships at Vogue House with Conde Nast at a young age, then went abroad and studied at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. In that time, I got to sample B2B and closed circulation publishing through a residency at Scranton Gilette Communications, and I was spellbound. That drew me further to the corporate side of the business and the challenges it faced.
After university, I conducted an analysis of press freedoms, infrastructure development, population trends, economic data, and living conditions. I booked a flight to Indonesia and arrived in the country, sight unseen, and worked myself into a visa.
I worked my way up through a newsroom before the parent conglomerate picked me out while I was deputising for the managing editor to help set up a new TV news station. Eight months later I was the nightly news anchor and producer, and taped an interview show every morning, with whoever was passing through. In this capacity I was able to interview former presidents and global business leaders, hosted economic forums, and was the onsite anchor for the World Economic Forum on East Asia, among others.
My fascination with processes advantaged me greatly as I felt, all the way back to school, nothing from seeing my name in print or on a screen. It meant dealing with things like teleprompters failing, presenting in one language but handling control room comms in another, incomplete reports and data from very remote regions - it all meant having a process to do all of it as well as I possibly could, and getting other people to buy into that process, too.
I hit my visa ceiling for that job and jumped ship for consulting and reporting gigs, waiting around for a leadership role I could get a visa for, until I landed myself the one covered above.
Are there any technologies you've found useful?
We are always evaluating and trying out SaaS solutions that hit the market. On the content side we try to take on projects with unique avenues for the opportunity to try new ones or retry old ones that we could not find a fit for.
Across the business, you can drive so much efficiency by using software and services to patch gaps, as long as you train everybody to use them properly.
I have seen entire organisations ruin productivity by insisting on using a famous productivity tool that management liked. We chop and change services all the time to avoid that happening. Some that have stood the test of time are Contractbook, Zapier, Dext, Trello, Xero and Revolut Business.
What is the future vision?
I want us to eventually pursue an extremely ambitious content publishing venture, and use our advantages to lead the way forward into the future, in a way that protects our clients and benefits those who work with us. I want that future venture to show people the way for how things can be done, ensuring maximal creativity, output, profitability and efficiency, the whole time. Ignoring those led to a decimation of newsrooms at huge societal cost, and an execution gap for content production that we are now trying to heal.