You could say that Nicholas Richards’ venture ROHO was built in a night—well, at least that’s when the idea was conceived.
Late one evening in 2015, the minister was combing YouTube for some inspirational sermons and suddenly his experience was interrupted by a Jack Daniels advertisement. That’s when he decided that he wanted to “create a space that allowed people to connect with God and connect with other people around religious content,” he says.
Jumping into action, Richards decided to develop a website to test his idea and soon realized that people were deeply engaging with its content. Happy he was on to something, the entrepreneur started talking to potential investors about his idea and garnered the support of key financial backers. But, even with cash in hand, he realized that something was still missing.
In order to grow his company Richards had to take the ultimate leap of faith: He needed to pursue his business full time, which meant resigning from his Assistant Pastor role at Abyssinian Baptist Church. He did. Richard shares the keys to the brand’s success.
ROHO – Swahilli for spirit – is the official name for Richard’s site that enables people to “curate their faith.”
For six months, Richards used his savings to build a better ROHO with consultants and raise his first round of funding.
Over $1 Million
That’s how much was raised in two rounds, with the first primarily coming from individual African-American investors.
ROHO applied to 500 startups two times before being selected as one of 46 companies to participate in tech incubator in Summer ’16.
ROHO spent four months in San Francisco learning how to grow the business.
McDonald’s was the first advertiser to partner with ROHO in 2016. Liberty Bank was the second.
The Bible has been Richard’s guide book through this journey. “I need a different verse every day,” he says.
That’s how long an average user spends per day on ROHO, watching about ½ million video views per month.
With 300K returning visitors monthly, ROHO is looking to grow that audience to 5 million by the end of the year.
Lynne d Johnson has been writing about music since the early 1990s, tech since the late ’90s, and the intersection of technology and everything else since the early 2000s. She currently writes, teaches and consults companies on how to better engage with their audiences. Follow her on Twitter @lynneluvah.