Hoping to earn some money over the summer? Skratch is mobile app designed to connect young people with local gigs around their neighborhood. Building on the modern concept of the gig economy, the app provides teenagers from ages 14 through 19 (“Skratchers”) with a safe way to earn money by completing everyday tasks in their area. Gigs on the app include dog walking, mother’s helper, sports tutor/coach, tech support and light yard work.
On the flip side, Skratch also provides local adults (“Seekers”) with an impactful way to check tasks off their to-do list. Adults age 20 and over can post gigs, offering kids in their neighborhood a positive way to spend their free time while learning important values such as accountability, dedication, hard work and the value of time and money. We caught up with the founder, Scott Bennett, to learn more.
How is Skratch connecting people in a new way?
Skratch is filling a void by leveraging technology and, more specifically, a mobile app to create trusted connections in local communities. It allows users (both the skratcher and the seeker) access to communicate through talk and text. A seeker of services can reach hundreds of potential providers of the service with a few taps on the phone. On the other hand, the service provider (skratcher) have access to dozens of opportunities that allows he or she to select the ones that work best with their skillsets.
What was the initial vision behind Skratch? What gave you this idea?
I grew up working as a teen and learned so much. Most importantly, it made me appreciate the freedom and independence that earning money gave me. My business partner and I are now raising our own teenagers, and we realized that those “first foot in the door” experiences are no longer available to teens. Thus, making us realize something needed to change. Skratch was the answer.
How has Skratch grown since its launch?
We have purposely had very methodical and controlled growth. Because we are working with teens who, in many cases, will find their first resume-building opportunities through Skratch, we want to make sure the service is delivered properly. Also, the technological side of Skratch is so critical because we want to make sure the app experience is simple and smooth, and that we learn from each and every transaction.
Why was Plano chosen as one of the first cities for Skratch?
Plano is a great city. People with a variety of incomes have made Plano their home, thus leading to plenty of neighborhoods full of ambitious teens. Plano was also a neighboring city to our original launch zip codes. We met with Mayor LaRosiliere as we were developing Skratch and he was a fan and suggested Plano would be excited to support it, which gave us even more of a reason to target this area.
How have people responded to it?
We hear all the time how much people love the idea. Our early users are finding the experiences to be valuable and rewarding on many levels. We have several teens that have earned over $100 in just a few months. Our seekers that have discovered the app are quick to book second and third gigs. We are even starting to get users in other zip codes asking for the app to open in their area where it’s not currently available.
Any app that connects people leads to safety concerns. How have you addressed them with Skratch?
Safety is a huge priority at Skratch. First, parents must consent for their teens (under the age of 18) participation in the app, and are made aware of all activity. We screen all users ages 17+ against the Texas Sex Offender Database. We also have matching algorithms to help connect users that likely are familiar with each other versus complete strangers.
What’s your background? What were you doing before Skratch?
I have spent most of my career focused on sales development, revenue generation and marketing. I have gravitated to emerging advertising and marketing platforms. Some of the
companies I’ve worked with include Frito Lay, Anheueser Busch, AT&T and Southwest Airlines. I’ve helped them learn to utilize innovation as they strive to stay relevant with their core consumers. I’ve also always found opportunities to work with kids and made those a priority.
What else is exciting about Skratch?
The possibilities for a next generation platform like this are endless. We see things like gamification and social connection as attractive growth areas. Beyond that, we are on a mission to change the way people teach financial literacy. We are all about proper financial literacy which starts with teaching income. Skratch is the platform that makes that a reality.