Udrafter opens Edinburgh office after £300k fundraiser

Udrafter, an Aberdeen-based tech start-up which provides a platform for micro-internships, has opened a new Edinburgh office after a successful £300,000 funding round.

Udrafter opens Edinburgh office after £300k fundraiser

Luke and Daryll Morrow

Udrafter - short for the University Draft - was founded by brothers Luke and Daryll Morrow and launched in Aberdeen last year.

After quickly proving their business concept, landing awards and closing their latest funding round 30 days early after it was oversubscribed, the founders are today opening a new office in Edinburgh as they expand into the Central Belt.

A funding round through fundraising platform Seedrs in November aimed to raise £235,000, but the brothers had to close it 30 days early after investment reached £300,000. The money is funding expansion into the Central Belt, opening the new office in Forres Street, Edinburgh, and has allowed Udrafter to hire three new staff.

The Udrafter platform offers businesses the chance to engage students looking for paid work experience on a range of projects from as little as 2 hours in length. It allows them to receive high-quality work at a relatively low cost and avoids tying up existing staff.

Daryll Morrow, founder and managing director, said: “I attended graduate job interviews but was told I didn’t have enough experience. My brother and I kept hearing stories from friends who had just graduated about going for job interviews who had faced the same challenge.

“It was a chicken and egg situation as there was no way to get experience without a job, so we came up with the idea for Udrafter.

“It allows students to gain valuable, industry-relevant experience while being paid. And it allows businesses to get work done while building a talent pipeline to fill future permanent graduate vacancies.

“The feedback on the standard of work has been exceptional and we’ve already had examples of final-year students who took on projects for clients last year being hired into full-time roles.”

The platform also helps to address the issue of unpaid internships. Daryll Morrow added: “Udrafter’s mission is to end exploitation of students through unpaid internships which only fit with the wealthiest in society. The Udrafter micro-internships platform will rebalance and reshape student opportunities regardless of background or network.”

Luke Morrow, co-founder and commercial director, commented: “The plan was always to prove the concept in Aberdeen before expanding further afield. We are in the process of forming partnerships with Stirling, Heriot Watt and Abertay Universities with more to come.

“But the beauty of the platform is that - unless the student is required to spend time in the company’s office - a business in one part of the country can match with a student in another.

“We still have the Aberdeen office and will continue to provide the same level of service and support to clients and students there, but we’re sure that businesses across Edinburgh, Glasgow and other parts of Scotland will find the same high standard of work to be just as valuable as our clients in Aberdeen.

“We’re also offering businesses the opportunity to try us out by allowing them to post a project on our site for free.”

Around 170 businesses in Aberdeen and the North-east of Scotland are already registered on the Udrafter platform, along with more than 1000 students.

Successfully delivered projects have ranged from logo design and videography, to engineering, marketing and architecture in sectors as diverse as restaurants, North Sea oil, satellite communications and gin distilling.

As part of its expansion into the Central Belt, Udrafter has hired a customer success manager, a software engineer and a VP of business development.

Udrafter has previously won a £10,000 Scottish Edge Award and last month won the Marketing category at the CeeD (Centre for Engineering, Education and Development) Scotland Awards.

Luke added: “We’re really pleased with what we’ve achieved in such a short period of time but we’re now focused on developing the business further across Scotland and working with more of the country’s SMEs and career-focused students.”

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