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Startup Profile - ScribeUp
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I’ve been interested in profiling individual startups since I started this newsletter. But, I wanted to wait until I found a startup that could immediately offer something of value to each of you reading this. I certainly found that with ScribeUp, and I’m really excited to share what they’ve built.
ScribeUp has created a chrome extension that automates managing your free trials, so you can focus on enjoying your subscription services worry free. I recently downloaded their product and got set up in just a few clicks.
ScribeUp is solving for what has become an everything-as-a-service personal budgeting nightmare, and they’re ensuring that free trial experiences are what they’re supposed to be — free and easy. You can start saving money on subscriptions and help them succeed in this mission by downloading the ScribeUp chrome extension for free:
You’re likely wondering how this works and where this idea came from. Let’s dive in!
How It Works
ScribeUp is a payments company focused on automating subscription management. What makes them unique is that they help users sign up for free trials without using a personal credit card. Yes, without your personal credit card.
Once you’ve installed the ScribeUp chrome extension, any time you navigate to the signup page for a subscription service you’ll be prompted by a message inviting you to join the free trial with your ScribeUp virtual card. This virtual credit card is backed by trusted third parties, meaning it’s not tied to any personal information and has no impact on your credit score.
Within ScribeUp, you can also browse their menu of over 120 digital services they support directly from the ScribeUp dashboard. I was excited to see that one of these services was YouTube Premium. I often stay up late watching golf instructional videos (if you’re wondering whether this helps my game, it doesn’t). I’m sick of the ads that interrupt these videos, so I used ScribeUp to join a 30 day trial of YouTube Premium. In just a few easy clicks I had joined the trial risk free without having to enter any personal or banking information.
Once enrolled, YouTube Premium appeared in my personalized ScribeUp dashboard under ‘free trials.’ It shows exactly how many days I have left in the trial, and I can cancel or keep this subscription directly from the dashboard at any point in time.
At the end of my trial, I’ll receive both an email and a browser notification from ScribeUp reminding me that my free trial is about to expire. From there, I can either keep the subscription or cancel in one click through ScribeUp. Through the ‘connect funding source’ button, I can also connect my bank account through Stripe. This way, if I decide to keep YouTube Premium after the trial, I can pay for it with money I actually have.
But the best part of ScribeUp to me is that the default behavior for every free trial is to automatically unsubscribe before it ends! This means that even if you join ScribeUp, signup for YouTube Premium, and never look at your laptop or phone again, you’re still at zero risk of paying when the free trial runs out.
I found this pretty great, and I think it has big potential to change the way I think about exploring new services. Without the risk of forgetting to cancel, I’ll probably be more likely to try services that I wouldn’t have used before. And if these services offer differentiated value (e.g. a show I can only watch on Prime), I’ll be more likely to keep paying for it knowing I can cancel in one click through ScribeUp.
Another great feature of ScribeUp is that you can scan your personal credit card and immediately see the dashboard below showing what subscriptions you pay for today.
Note - I’ve been paying 0.99/month for additional Apple storage I don’t use, and every month I say I’m too busy to cancel. Once I saw it here, I finally pulled the plug.
While similar dashboards are available through competitors, it’s the next step that makes ScribeUp unique. This feature is still in beta, but soon you’ll be able to click ‘unsubscribe’ here on the existing subscriptions charged to your personal credit card, and migrate these payments to the ScribeUp virtual card. From there, you’ll have a better ability to track, manage, and cancel your existing subscriptions in one click.
What’s great is that consumers pay nothing to use ScribeUp. The virtual card, subscription management, and one click cancel are all entirely free.
ScribeUp monetizes much like other payments companies, by taking a percentage of transaction fees when customers decide to ‘keep’ subscriptions at the end of a trial and pay using the ScribeUp virtual card. Long-term, they hope to also build partnerships or affiliate programs with service providers to monetize customers who end up purchasing new subscriptions through ScribeUp.
Co-founders Jordan and Yohei met in the fall of 2020 during their first semester of business school at MIT Sloan. They both wanted to start a company, and had similar pain points around subscriptions and free trials. Jordan had a background in Finance and Yohei was an experienced software developer, so the two felt like they were the right team to solve this problem. As a consumer company they needed expertise in marketing, so they quickly brought in Erica Chiang to the founding team for her experience in growth marketing at marketplace businesses. Since then the product has scaled quite a bit, and they brought on Josh Cohen to the founding team as CPO for his background in product management at early stage startups.
The team’s success has caught the attention of a number of accelerators including MIT Sandbox, Mass Challenge, and MuckerLab. After gaining the support of Mucker in the fall of 2021 Yohei and Jordan dropped out of MIT to pursue ScribeUp full time. Erica and Josh plan to continue with ScribeUp full time after graduation in May.
As you can tell, I’m a happy customer of ScribeUp and probably will be for a while. The product is still in beta but I’m really excited to see what else this team builds as the product scales. If you want to start saving money and take control of your subscriptions, click the button to download at the top of this post and join hundreds of users on ScribeUp today!
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