Curafied founder Arielle Jordan energized by Silicon Valley trip
If your system for keeping track of articles and web links is a hot mess, then Dayton Entrepreneur Arielle Jordan’s new social media platform, Curafied, is for you.
Via Curafied, users can create galleries and/or search tags for articles they want to keep. The Curafied platform keeps these links organized by topic, as assigned by the curator, to make them quick to find.
Arielle originally built the platform as a way for influencers to monetize content by posting exclusive video, photo, art, articles, audio etc. behind a subscription-based paywall. She took the idea to Silicon Valley in March, participating in Women Startup Lab, a startup accelerator run out of Menlo Park, home of the late inventor Thomas Edison.
Curafied was one of 10 companies across the world — and the only from Ohio — selected for the program.
She came back to Ohio and launched her first beta version over the summer, when she discovered two key truths that helped shape the current pivot of Curafied.
“It’s hard to convince people who are used to giving away free content to ask people to pay for it,” Arielle shared over coffee.
Additionally, the folks who were interested in monetizing content didn’t feel the platform had enough bells & whistles, she said.
With no budget to build out the tech, Arielle started to ask friends to try out the platform in order to get more feedback.
At the end of the beta test, the numbers revealed that noninfluencers — those friends she asked to give it a whirl — who were using the platform to essentially store & organize web links in one place, were getting more hits than the influencers she originally targeted. When colleagues asked for resources, these curators were sending one link — to their collections on their Curafied pages.
Last month, she went back to Silicon Valley, disappointed with the initial results — until her mentor, Chris Yeh, co-founder of Wasabi Ventures, told her that her disappointing beta test was “actually a gold mine.”
“The beauty of Curafied in its current state is that it’s easy web-linked curation,” Arielle said. “And everyone, not just influencers, needs to easily save and send links.”
The platform pulls together the best aspects of Pinterest & Twitch, displaying both title and image for each link rather than just the string of characters you’d see on a list of links, and adds the capability to chat in real-time with people looking at your curated links — though this last feature remains subscription-based.
One of those childhood friends Arielle asked to test her platform turned out to be a former software developer for other high-tech startups including Cisco & Juicero. Over lunch in California, he agreed to help enhance the Curafied features — Arielle plans to unveil a new user interface at the top of 2019.
Arielle and her cohorts also pitched several venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road during the October trip. Though all the companies from the accelerator were too early-stage for the VCs, the introductions were important, Arielle said — now these 10 women-owned tech companies are on the Silicon Valley radar.
“The level and vision I have is for this platform to be a contender with Facebook, Instagram and others,” Arielle said. “When I say that in Silicon Valley, talking to Chris Yeh, people don’t think it’s crazy. If I can get that money, while working in Dayton, I can make that money go further, and that is attractive to investors.”
Stay tuned for more from Arielle. For now, start curating your favorite links here.