Simply Noted, an automated handwritten note company based in Tucson, just produced its one millionth note after just two and a half years in business.
Rick Elmore, the company’s founder, sent that note to his former marketing professor Tirthankar Roy, who teaches in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. Elmore credits Roy with planting the initial seed for Simply Noted in the first place.
“If it wasn’t for the University of Arizona, I would not have the best things in my life: my family, a professional football career, nor would I have been inspired to launch Simply Noted,” Elmore said in a statement. “In reaching this milestone of sending our one millionth note, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank Tirthankar Roy for inspiring me to launch a business that is truly helping others to build relationships through the power of the handwritten note.”
While Elmore was in his class, Roy mentioned that handwritten letters have a 99% open rate. The open rates of flyers, mailers, emails or even text messages, didn’t even come close.
“It was a no-brainer,” Elmore says about his decision to find a way to automate handwritten letters. “Handwritten notes are the last thing that people think can be automated,” he says.
Simply Noted is designed specifically to help B2B companies build and strengthen important client, customer and employee relationships. The Simply Noted platform integrates with other software tools like HubSpot, Salesforce and Shopify, to automatically send real pen-written letters for a variety of businesses, including some Fortune 500 companies.
“We’re basically automating their personal touch,” says Elmore. “A handwritten note is worth its weight in gold.”
Still, getting to a million notes hasn’t been easy. Elmore went through various iterations of the product early on.
“It was not a good product in the beginning,” he says.
In fact, Elmore initially didn’t realize he was building a tech company. Simply Noted provides a tangible product, but complex technologies, including robotics, are required to produce it. Elmore didn’t know anything about tech or how to build what he needed, so he eventually brought in a dozen different engineering companies to find the right fit. And even after that, he changed companies again six months later.
But Elmore didn’t give up. Instead, he doubled down on his idea. He started working on the company full-time in January 2019 and hasn’t looked back. Now, Simply Noted has 11 employees and is on track to surpass $2 million in revenue in 2021.
Simply Noted has some competition, though. Handwrytten, another automated handwritten note company and also based in Arizona, has been around a lot longer and has a good reputation. Elmore admits that Handwrytten is a great company, but he doesn’t seem too worried. He says that Simply Noted is designed specifically for B2B, while he sees Handwrytten for a more general market.
Elmore says he’s always been relentless in his pursuits, and he’s seen the benefits. He says he’s always been good at what he does, whether in his college and football careers or in his career selling medical technology.
When it comes to getting something done, says Elmore, “I was always a top performer.”