Jasper Kuria’s story will resonate with many startup founders. He spent several years in engineering and program management at Microsoft before deciding to venture out on his own and launch a startup, a men’s fitness supplement company called Fit Foreva.
Lacking marketing experience, he struggled to get enough users for his product, and eventually the startup didn’t make it. It’s a tale that applies to many tech entrepreneurs who have taken the startup plunge.
But what Kuria did next is where his story takes a different path. He decided to launch a new startup to solve the problem that tanked his first. The result was Capital & Growth, which Kuria calls “Stack Overflow for startup marketing,” a reference to the popular online community for programmers.
“While I was fairly technical, I realized that unless you are doing ‘hard tech,’ user/customer acquisition determines about 90 percent of a startup’s success,” he said. “I therefore figured I’d create a site to help technical founders with marketing — first by answering tactical execution questions and then by selling more in-depth courses.”
Capital & Growth allows entrepreneurs to ask marketing questions and get on-demand feedback from experts. Eventually, the most frequently-asked questions will be turned into mini-courses that users can buy. Kuria is also toying with the idea of connecting marketing professionals with startups for one-off projects, collecting a 15 percent referral fee.
Founded in September 2016, the four-person startup is officially launching its site this week, with former Accenture and Microsoft consultant Yinso Chen as CTO. Capital & Growth has raised a small seed round from Microsoft and Yale alumni. (Yale is Kuria’s alma mater.)
As part of its business, Capital & Growth is pledging to donate 10 percent of its profits to fund scholarships for children in Kenya at risk of dropping out of school. The program is operated in partnership with Christopher Khaemba, founding dean of the African Leadership Academy.
“We have a ‘perpetual motion machine’ to fund the scholarships sustainably,” Kuria said of the profit-sharing model. “Our community is also likely to be more engaged when they understand our mission and know that scholarships will be awarded in their names.”
The main Capital & Growth landing page is available here.