From Product Hunt to Funded in 35 Days

Thoughts and lessons at the intersection of Product Hunt and funding

Just over a month ago, Motion AI made its debut on Product Hunt, reaching #1 for the day and earning a spot among the most upvoted products of all-time. Fast forward to this week, and we’ve just announced the closure of $700,000 in seed.

The community that Product Hunt has built is very targeted, with highly influential and engaged readers. Your Product Hunt launch may not bring down your servers or result in a phone call from your web host, but it can surface your product/concept to a very important demographic central to your future fundraising, recruiting and customer acquisition efforts.

Below the jump are some tips that helped improve our Product Hunt experience!

Engage the community

Product Hunt has a very technically adept community of readers and commenters. Not only that, they’re polite (yes, polite Internet commenters!) and love to engage with makers. Return the favor!

This is not a new piece of advice — most all Maker Success stories offer this suggestion. But here are a few specific things we did that helped:

  • Aside from engaging people with a Product Hunt-specific landing page (using IntroBar or similar), consider making additional quirky or fun PH-inspired alterations to your site. In our case, this meant renaming our demo “Hoover’s Pizza”, and incorporating the glasshole kitty as an avatar in said demonstration.
  • We did our best to engage with each commenter on Twitter to learn more about their interest. This actually resulted in several great customer acquisition leads and contacts, and even an angel investment in one case.

Create viral loops

You’re not allowed to explicitly ask people to upvote your product — and this is a great rule to have in place, ensuring the playing field remains fair. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to promote the potential for upvotes by directing users to your Product Hunt page.

For example, every user who signed up for our waitlist was given the option to tweet out their position on the waitlist, with a chance to move up in queue everytime someone clicked on their link (check out Waitlisted for a great SaaS solution for this)

When their friends clicked the link, we didn’t send them to our homepage… we sent them to our Product Hunt page. This brought more eyeballs to PH and in turn, surely assisted with upvotes.

I just ran a report in Google Analytics and found that nearly 3,000 additional users flowed through these referral links. If only 5% of those users opted to upvote the product, that’s 150 additional votes right there.

Raising money? Bring Product Hunt into your pitch

Product Hunt is an almost universally lauded barometer of tech interest… Everyday, VC firms and angels check Product Hunt to see what’s hot. If you perform well on Product Hunt and seek funding, be sure to mention that! We devoted an entire slide of our Pitch Deck to this.

An actual slide from our Pitch Deck

Particularly in early-stage investments, social proof is among the most definitive signs of demand… and when it comes to social proof, Product Hunt is a well-trusted indicator of this.

Make your Product Hunt connections last

Think of your PH journey as a networking opportunity, not a one-off engagement.

Consider adding a waitlist (if pre-launch) or Product Hunt specific mailing list prompt. Product Hunters want you to succeed and love to hear about your journey forward.

Over 5K individuals and companies joined our waitlist, and it’s been a great way to keep in touch with each and every one of them since then.

In conclusion…

There’s no silver bullet to performing well on Product Hunt, but there are a number of steps you can take to improve your chances and optimize your experience.

Study the top hunted products each and every day, check out the comment threads and take note of what people like (and don’t like)

Ultimately, if you don’t think your product would pique the interest of the community in the first place, these tips won’t be very beneficial.

Going back to looking at PH as a barometer of tech interest, the reality is that understanding what the Product Hunt community enjoys has implications that run far deeper than just your tenure on PH.

If there’s anything I didn’t cover, feel free to ask!

Happy Product Hunting 🙂


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