Meet the UK SME that conquered Dragon’s Den & lockdown business challenges



So far, 2020 has been a whirlwind year for biography-writing service, StoryTerrace. In March, they were a fan favourite on Dragon's Den - but fast forward just a few months, and they were faced with something that no business model could have predicted, a global pandemic. Despite an uncertain future, StoryTerrace has been able to overcome the odds, and has managed to continue scaling globally during the lockdown. 


Founded in 2015 by Rutger Bruining, StoryTerrace has scaled rapidly, making significant inroads into the UK and US markets simultaneously with offices in Shoreditch and Los Angeles. The company now boasts a stable of over 600 professional writers across the globe and has sold book projects worth over £4 million.


When faced with the lockdown, StoryTerrace was able almost immediately able to change their business to run remotely. Previously, when interviews would take place between the client and their biography-writer, they did have a remote service in place for clients that lived abroad or were not able to travel, so they shifted their business to video calls. With the transition to their remote service, StoryTerrace has actually seen their most successful month in the 5 year history of the business, which they attest to increased feelings of nostalgia during the lockdown, as well as their ability to pivot their offering quickly and effectively.


While on Dragon's Den, StoryTerrace received an emotional response from the Dragons - who each received a personalised book - and offers from both Touker Suleyman and Tej Lalvani. StoryTerrace ultimately rejected their offers of investment – and in the time since filming the episode, went on to secure 15 times the investmentamount that they were offered on the show. 


Rutger Bruining – CEO and Founder of StoryTerrace reflects on the company's 5th anniversary:

“During the COVID-19 crisis, we have actually seen an influx of requests from people looking to document their journey through life with StoryTerrace, and we believe it’s no coincidence that this has happened during a period of social distancing. As millions of people across the globe self-isolate, we are presented with a very unique opportunity for us to dedicate time to ourselves and practice some self-care. With the health crisis at hand, many of us are concerned for our states of mind, but sharing stories and writing can be one of the most therapeutic ways for us to connect in this difficult time

In order to accommodate government advice, we are offering video and phone interviews wherever necessary or requested for our service – as this is a great way to connect with your loved ones while still being mindful of their safety. Many of our clients have already successfully created beautiful books using our remote service - so we can be confident that if you choose to go down this route you will enjoy the experience and be delighted with the results. This means you can create your book with the help of our wonderful team of writers and editors without ever being in the same room. We can even send copies across the country for family and friends to enjoy at home.

After helping to record more life stories than ever before in 2019, we are really excited to see what the future holds. Our ambition is no less than to completely change how society captures and passes on stories. And that over the next 10 years it becomes the norm, not the exception, to have documented the life journeys of our grandparents and great-grandparents in their own words.”


Founded in 2015 by Rutger Bruining, StoryTerrace has scaled rapidly, making significant inroads into the UK and US markets simultaneously with offices in Shoreditch and Los Angeles. The company now boasts a stable of over 600 professional writers across the globe and has sold book projects worth over £4 million. Since recording Dragons’ Den, it has doubled its sales. Given StoryTerrace’s impressive growth thus far, CEO Rutger Bruining has demonstrated how to turn an artistic process into a scalable commercial proposition.

Much in the same way that celebrities work with ghost-writers to curate their autobiographies, StoryTerrace’s service matches professional ghost-writers to everyday people, who are often gifted the opportunity to immortalise their life story by their children. Given that a third of Britons say that they’ve learned more about their parents’ lives from overhearing conversations, than from speaking to them directly, it’s not surprising that StoryTerrace has proven to be so popular.

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