• Tinder: pitched the idea to sororities and fraternities around USC campus
  • DoorDash: printed menus and fliers and put them all over Stanford
  • Lyft: asked people in the team for contacts at other startups and arranged a drop-off to give out ice cream and Lyft credits, sent personal invites to friends
  • Uber: went to places like Caltrain station to hand out referral codes
  • Snapchat: went to shopping malls to hand out flyers
  • Etsy: went to all craft fairs across US and recruited sellers
  • Pinterest: started as an invite-only community, went to Apple stores and changed all the computers to say Pinterest, emailed the founder’s connections
  • Dropbox: created a demo and published it on Hacker News
  • TikTok: put a really long application name on App Store so the search engine gave it more weight
  • Loom: launched on Product Hunt, talked to organizations, introduced a referral system
  • Netflix: joined online communities about DVD and movies, befriend my major players and moderators, and slowly, over time, tell them about Netflix
  • Buffer: acquired 100k users solely through guest blogging (150 posts)
  • Yelp: invited friends, mostly coworkers from PayPal and asked them to invite their friends
  • Facebook: invited friends, put on mailing list
  • Quora: had D’Angelo’s and Cheever’s college and high school’s friends, let users invite people
  • LinkedIn: had Reid’s successful friends and connections
  • Slack: asked friends at other companies to try out and give feedbacks
  • Clubhouse: did a private Testflight, kept high quality, made it exclusive, had high-quality referrals from seed users
  • Instagram: gave it to a few people who had large Twitter following within a specific community, contacted press directly
  • Robinhood: put up a landing page with a waitlist that showed how many people were ahead of you or behind you
  • Spotify: new users must be invited by existing users
  • Twitter: leveraged influencer’s posts
  • Product Hunt: started as an email list, sent personal emails to influencers and invited them to contribute to press
  • Airbnb: took an advantage of a political event, made custom cereal boxes with messages to well-known tech bloggers
  • StackOverflow: both founders already had a large followers on their blogs so they invited them to a private beta
  • Asana, Intercom, Okta, Coda: asked friends and former colleagues
  • Carta: asked the angle investors and sister portfolio founders
  • Gusto: first 10 customers came from friends founders knew, YC batch, non-tech small businesses
  • Stripe: setup Stripe on the spot for people who wanted to try, looked for personal connections
  • Amplitude: first customers came from YC network
  • Shopify, New Relic: showed the Ruby On Rails developer community
  • Plaid: grew through word of mouth in the developer and product manager community via forums, IRC, meetups, startup accelerators
  • Figma: cold emailed designers on Twitter
  • Square: met and spoke with actual merchants in person
  • Atlassian: targeted open-source communities, mailing lists, IRC
  • Segment: launched as an open-source library on Hacker News
  • Airtable: invited friends and family then published to Hacker News
  • Twilio: launched on Tech Crunch in private beta

References: