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18 Comments

Hello IH! I cofounded Rize where we got #1 on Product Hunt in May and just reached $11,000+ in monthly sales. AMA

Hey everyone!

I'm Will from Rize, a time tracker that helps you improve your productivity. My cofounder, Macgill, and I have been working on Rize since September last year.

Before that, we ran a venture-backed startup that had over $3.1 million in funding from some of Silicon Valley's top VCs. We shut it down and returned the money because of a lack of product-market fit. Since then, we've been bootstrapping Rize and couldn't be happier with our progress.

Ask me anything!

  1. 3

    Very useful, and great aesthetics! Is this designed in-house or did you contract it out?

    1. 1

      The initial branding work for our website was done by an agency, all other design was done in-house... by me actually. 😅

  2. 3

    Amazing product. I just installed it, I think I will give it a try as I struggle with time tracking at the moment.

    Would you please let us know about the tech stack you used building Rize?

    1. 3

      Thanks @waseem! Rize’s back end is built with Ruby in Rails on top of a Postgresql database. For the front end, we built the app with Electron, NextJS, and ApolloGraphQL.

      Both the front end and back end stacks have allowed us to move insanely fast.

  3. 3

    Wow this product looks great! I might become a customer very soon, because I've been looking into time tracking myself...
    What has been your main approach to customer acquisition and finding new customers? Thanks for this AMA!

    1. 2

      Thanks, @borzi!

      We have a few different ways that all seem to be working somewhat well enough. Sponsoring creators has given us a lot of exposure, we've been giving out lifetime deals in exchange for tweets, videos, and other pieces of content that creators are willing to trade for.

      Launch platforms like Product Hunt where you can launch and offer deals to smaller communities have also helped. Although, this hasn't been as effective as the sponsorships.

      Referrals, referrals, referrals! This has been a multiplier for us. Any time we get a big influx of users, we get waves of more users afterwards due to referrals. The only downside with referrals is that when you're just starting out, they don't make quite as much an impact because your userbase is small.

      As a caveat, this is just what worked for us and our brand. I would take our experience with a grain of salt because all startups are different and how they are perceived in the wild will also be different.

  4. 3

    Hey @wrgoto, congrats on reaching this amazing milestone!

    Love to hear what are your marketing strategies that got you to this stage.

    Cheers!

    1. 3

      Thank you! I truly believe that the market research that we did even before building the product has had the most impact on our initial growth. We spent a good two months just talking to people and eventually learned that there wasn't a good time tracker that helped you understand your focus time and other productivity factors.

      That, coupled with truly understanding the persona of our target market, allowed us to market the website and product in a way that really resonated with them. Right off the bat, the conversions on our landing page to our waitlist were something like 15%!

      Since launch, getting #1 on Product Hunt, providing lifetime deal giveaways, and sponsoring creators for content have helped us move the needle. Long story short, if you do the market research up front, your marketing strategy and tactics are 10x more effective.

      1. 1

        Thanks for the insights!

        Mind if I get in touch to find out more about your market research approach?

        Would love to feature your strategies on GrowthHunt.co

        Cheers!

        1. 1

          Of course! Shoot me an email over at will [at] rize.io

  5. 3

    What issues you’re struggling right now?

    1. 2

      We just launched on Windows and it still has a few bugs that prevent users from fully using the app. It's been a pain because these issues are hard to debug. 😭

      The other main issue is figuring out scalable ways to grow. I think we reached past the point of trying out simple growth tactics that get us a few users here and there. Now we need to focus more on systematically getting users through repeatable channels.

  6. 2

    From your perspective, what's the biggest difference between running a VC-back company and bootstrapping?

    1. 2

      The biggest difference between the two IMO is really the vision and long-term plans of the company. Usually, startups that are venture-backed must have a vision where the company can ultimately be valued over a billion dollars. Bootstrapped companies don't have this restriction so the products you can sell can be a lot simpler and minimal.

  7. 1

    I really like the design of Rize. I wanted to ask, what was the hardest point during the building phase of Rize?

  8. 1

    Thanks for the post & congratz to you and the team! This is awesome as we're on a journey with many similarities - solving a pain point for creators and building out to that awesome audience. This is super motivating to see :) One question: how did you go about collaborating with creators ? Direct outreach, referral platforms, marketplaces...?

    1. 1

      Thank you @DearLeza! We initially reached out to creators directly who seemed like a really good fit. The first creator made a video about us unprompted actually. once we saw it, we reached out to sponsor him for one more in-depth and strategic.

      Now that we're making money, we're going through a third-party agency, but not necessarily because it's better, but because the creators we want to work with only accept contracts through the agency.

      1. 1

        Super Insightful thanks! Keep doing awesome things [Rocket]

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