As part of a social media marketing class at the University of Iowa last year, students were assigned consulting projects working with local small businesses interested in learning more about social media platforms and how to best use them.
The class projects culminated with presentations to the clients.
As each group delivered their pitches to the businesses, Josh Krakauer and classmates John Doessel and Micah Kulish noticed something.
“They were all extremely impressed, but their response was the same,” Krakauer said. “It was, ‘This would be super effective, but we don’t have the time to implement it at all.’”
The business heads would say to the students, “If you want to do it, we will pay you,” Krakauer said — but none of his peers took the executives up on their offers.
“So for us, it was more obvious than anything,” he said. “That was really the moment when we decided to take it seriously.”
While still in school, the trio began planning to launch Sculpt, an Iowa City-based social media marketing company that works with all types of businesses to increase their presence on a variety of social media platforms. The crew manages client accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, while also moderating blogs when necessary and launching digital campaigns and projects.
On the company website, Sculpt lists its services in three categories — social medial consulting, training and education; online community management; and digital campaigns and projects.
“We are creating content on behalf of brands,” Krakauer said. “We are generating leads and building customers relationships — anything that a busy business owner and entrepreneur can’t do.”
Sculpt incorporated as a business in February and, Krakauer said, “It’s been a full-time affair.” The trio currently is working with 12 clients, five of which are full-service.
“Our growth is rapid,” he said. “Our biggest problem has been scaling our internal team and finding out how to manage our workload with as little human resources as possible. Not to say we are sick of getting new business. We will gladly keep taking new calls.”
Some of Scuplt’s clients to date have included the Java House, Heirloom Salad Co. and California-based Health Tech Hatch, a company that provides a platform for crowdfunding health-related concepts and prototypes.
“We are their entire outsourced social media marketing team – we manage their blog to their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google-plus accounts,” Krakauer said. “We are forging relationships with potential funders and driving people to their website.”
In addition to the three co- founders, Sculpt has six part-time employees, with plans to add staff in the next quarter.
“It is still growing,” Krakauer said. “But we have been able to save because we didn’t need a lot of startup capital.”
Sculpt also got a deal on its office space. It’s based in the UI’s Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory because the co-founders launched the business while still students.
Krakauer said they’re planning to move to the Iowa City Area Development’s CoLab, a co-working space in Iowa City dedicated to startup companies.
Owners: Josh Krakauer, John Doessel and Micah Kulish
Address: 322 N. Clinton St., Suite #315, Iowa City
Phone: (847) 370-3749