Places to Post Your Startup
I love building, but I hate promoting. This is a real problem, because without the latter, it’s awfully tough to get an initial user base. So, I recently buckled down and spent some time just spreading the word about Officehours.
I did this on a number of forums, communities, and sites that allow (even encourage) you to announce your startups with them. Now, this is not a particularly joyful process; therefore, some services will take care of the leg work—for a fee. That said, I wanted to do this myself, both to better understand who’s out there—and to compile a comprehensive list on where to launch your startup.
Now, I don’t expect much to come from doing this, and you probably shouldn’t either. Sites like these are overrun with startups posting what they’re working on. (And my hunch is that most of the people on these sites are other startup founders—not prospective users.) Nevertheless, it can’t hurt to get out there. And if you hustle, you can get this task out of the way and get back to building your thing.
Before you get started
Posting to services like the ones I mention takes time, and some services don’t seem worth the trouble. However, I found that it took longer to determine whether a service was worth submitting to, than to simply submit and move on. Thus, I submitted to almost every service I could find—regardless of how bad/pointless it might seem (so long as it wasn’t completely dead). Who knows which site will lead traffic to your startup?
In order to make the process faster, I suggest first opening a text document, in which you can compile some basic information. You’ll be asked for this information over and again. (Having these at your side is awfully handy, as you can just copy and paste them as necessary.) I recommend compiling: a tagline, a short description of what it does, longer descriptions, and tags that relate to your startup. You’ll need more, but these are the basic ones.
Additionally, it helps to collect a batch of screenshots (or photographs) of your site/app/service. Start with something mid-sized, and you can later resize these as necessary. Logo files are also useful. And one more thing: a video. A number of sites ask for a YouTube URL for your explainer video. I suggest having this in place before you start submitting your service to these groups.
The social voting/list sites
A lot of traffic, discussion, and interest can be garnered, if you get decent placement on what one might call social voting sites. Most of these follow a similar format: a homepage that lists popular submissions (where most of the activity happens), and a page containing new submissions. Most links are to external articles, or internal discussions. Keep in mind that unless you’re already a part of these communities, getting to the popular list/homepage is difficult.
One of Sacha Grief’s side-projects, Sidebar lists 5 good design links every day. Given the focus of the site, some projects aren’t suitable to share, here. That said, if yours holds relevance to designers, you could post it in the Experiments category.
A section of Hacker News that allows members to post their new thing. The HN homepage is pretty hard to crack—unless you’re a highly active user, so don’t expect much. (Pro-tip: Don’t send your friends a link to your page, and ask them to up-vote. The direct link will result in your submission being flagged. Also, I recommend against being the first to comment on what you’ve posted.)
A smaller community that’s trying to solve some of the problems that HN faces. It’s invite only, so getting in might take some work. That said, the community is small enough that you can actually get a bit of a discussion going. Read the rules first, and abide by them. (The dude abides.)
A HN clone focused on interesting ideas.
Codrops is focused on web design and web development. As such, only certain projects/startups are suitable. That said, Codrops is curated, so, if yours isn’t right, they’ll simply remove it from the queue.
In the same vein as Codrops, this one is a nice place to share your startup, if it’s relevant to web design folks. If not, perhaps skip it.
A place to give and get feedback on what you’re building. You can also use it to hold conversations, meet people to share with, and help keep people productive.
A sort of Reddit clone, Inbound is built for online marketers. I think you know what I’ll say next: If your startup/project is relevant to these types of people, share it here. If it isn’t, move on. (And you’ll need karma to get far in this community.)
Everything I just wrote about Inbound.org? Repeat that here, but this audience is comprised of marketers focused on growth (which sounds like most marketers, to me). Nevertheless, this community might have a bit more of a tech-bent than other marketing ones.
Ditto, but for designers.
Ditto, but for people who use Meteor.
Ditto, yet again; however, there are other reasons to be a part of this community. If you’re not going the VC-funded route, you’ll find like-minded people here, who’re sharing their stories/experiences. (Only downside is that activity in this community seems to be languishing.)
Given all of the Reddit-like communities out there, one could possibly forget that there is also Reddit. The Startups subreddit is more of a discussion, but the Share your startup post does welcome submissions. There’s a new one every month, and you submit yours by simply commenting on the current month’s thread. (Many submit their startups here. So, post early in the month, to ensure your submission isn’t buried.)
A related subreddit is SideProject, which encourages users to share/receive constructive feedback on side projects and startups. Another goal of this community is to get readers motivated and inspired to work on new projects. So, submitting is good, but stick around for the discussion.
A channel on Chapp that allows you to show your working app, product, or tool. Just get an account, and list your product name, a sentence about what it does, and the URL. (This one’s brand new, so you can get your project posted easily, and get some quick traffic.)
This is the #ShowChapp’s younger sibling. Working on a project and need sign-ups? Want to build a little interest before you launch? This is the place to do it. (Again this channel is very new, so it’s the perfect time to get your startup listed.)
I’m not looking for funding—mostly because I’m scared of it. (I just figure that funding leads to a form of ongoing servitude.) That said, you might be in need of funding. Additionally some of these communities can be useful, just as a way to get your startup in front of a few new people.
A novel approach to pitching your startup, Founderfox’s activity all happens in their iOS app. You start by picking a category (e.g. MobileApp, B2B, BigData, etc). Then, you create a brief video in which you explain your product. Others can then view and comment on your pitch. I don’t love seeing my face on camera, but I like how easily this service works. (Don’t trust the Watched count, though. Every mouse hover, even yours, counts as a view.)
Imagine a podcast version of ”Shark Tank” for startups. This is how TNW describes The Pitch. They find early stage startups, listen to pitches, and help them raise money from AngelList investors. To get in, you apply to pitch on the show. Currently, submissions are closed (for Season 1), so if you want to get your hands on someone else’s dough, you’ll need to bookmark this and check back later.
A “funding platform” that provides tools to help entrepreneurs manage their startup funding process, from pitch to exit. Upload your pitch video, describe your team, connect with investors, and manage your post-investment relationships. Claims to have funded 1,800+ startups in the past 12 months.
The Startup Pitch
Dating back to 2008, The Startup Pitch isn’t really about pitching to investors. Instead, it’s a place to talk about your startup, without needing to get a mention on a major startup blog. This one is cleanly designed, and has a simple submission form. For $10, you can jump the queue to get listed faster.
The challenge with startup blogs, is that they’re hit with a lot of pitches. Plus, most aren’t really in the business of sharing your startup—just because you would like them to. Nevertheless, when the fit is right, some of the following might mention your new thing. (Don’t hold your breath, though.)
Covers Canadian startup news and tech innovation. If yours is appropriate, you can submit it through their Tips page.
This service showcases tips, apps, news, and other things deemed useful by their team. If you discovered a useful application or developed one yourself, you’re welcome to let them know about it.
Unless you have something truly newsworthy (e.g. CNN is likely to cover it) you probably won’t get your startup mentioned on TechCrunch. However, Mike Butcher provides some tips on how to get mentioned on TechCrunch, in his The Press Release Is Dead — Use This Instead. All of your interactions with the media will likely improve if you watch his talk.
With more than 40 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is a force—but, it’s so big it feels like People Magazine masquerading as a tech blog. You’re more likely to find a story about Kim Kardashian on its homepage than a newly minted startup. That said, if you can get a mention on Mashable, you’ll certainly be all smiles. So, read their tips on getting featured and then give it a shot!
Netted (by the Webbys)
Netted is a free daily email publication that uncovers online tools that make life better, easier, and more productive. Each morning they recommend a single website, app, or service that they deem worthwhile, indispensable, or even life changing. Applications are accepted via email.
Berlin-based blog that documents Europe’s tech news. They provide different email addresses, allowing you to target specific people/teams, depending on the nature of the message (e.g. big news, startup introductions, gossip, et cetera).
A blog that started as a side-project and now covers technology startups around the world. This is one of those ones I almost bypassed, as it seemed so generic; nevertheless, they seem to have a substantial audience (nearly 94k Twitter followers). Submissions are made by email.
Boasting 17.5m monthly visits, and 400k subscribers, Hong Kong based MakeUseOf seems to has a fair amount of reach. They focus on helping readers learn more about technology and how it can improve their lives. I couldn’t find an easy way to submit a new startup—aside from a “fast-track” paid option. So, I just sent an note to the General Enquiries address. (I don’t expect to hear much back.)
When you land at this site, you’ll probably wonder why I sent you to it. It looks rough, like a long forgotten blog. That said, it has huge reach. They wrote a post about Officehours that I only stumbled upon through Twitter. (For the record, they served up over 400 retweets from that one article.)
A strange one that posts random tech stories, but hasn’t tweeted for nearly a year. Submissions are made through email. Traction/influence here seems low. That said, I submitted our information anyway, because… well… why not? A week later, I received am email talking about the time-critical nature of startups, and how for $95, I can get a “priority review”—this one feels dodgy.
A few resources work to chronicle the many different startups in existence. There aren’t a lot of these, but the ones that exist are typically mature. Don’t expect a lot of interest as a result of these resources—unless, perhaps, if you work them hard. (I recommend against doing so. You’ll likely fare better by putting your focus on improving your product.) Still, posting your details in these communities is probably a good move.
TechCrunch runs a companion database (sort of a wiki) called CrunchBase. My hunch is that this site is principally frequented by VC-types. As such, I doubt that you’ll see much traffic as a result of being listed there. Still, it’s worth taking a moment to post some details about your operation.
Much like #Prelaunch but with an actual history, Betalist is the place to announce what you’re working on. All you need is a decent landing/sign-up page, and you’re set. But—you can only post here prior to launching. So, set a reminder to do this a month before your launch, just so you can make use of this great opportunity to build anticipation. (I always mess this up, and visit Betalist after launching, which is a drag.)
AngelList is sort of like TechCrunch meets LinkedIn. It’s a repository of startups and startup folks. There are recommendations, the ability to follow users, job postings, and a batch of other tools/functions. Again, you should probably get your startup and personal profile posted here—but, I doubt you’ll see much traffic from it. (You’re more likely to have a potential funder reach out, as a result of your listing being here, than you are to get any new users.)
Index is a new service that feels like a better designed Crunchbase. The experience is well put together (with clean animations and functionality). Index seems like an aggressive effort to build a powerful startup tool. It’ll be cool if it works out.
This service works to connect you with funders, find talent, and gain exposure. I think I’ve already mentioned this, but I’ll risk doing it again: these services seem better suited to those looking to raise funds than for those who’re bootstrapped. Still, though, it’s easier to just put your name on every one of these than ponder whether it’s actually right for your startup.
This one feels incredibly out-of-date. The homepage feels stock, and parts of the site are broken; nevertheless, it’s been around for a while—and content is still current. Like most of the other startup databases mentioned here, you’ll need to complete a profile. Vator also prompts you to connect with your Facebook/LinkedIn connections.
A neat listing of makers and products—I like this one. It auto-populates fields with data from Twitter/Github, and creates links between you and what you’ve made. Of all the listing services I’ve found, this one feels the most original. I hope they keep working on this, because it’s nice to use and feels good.
Up and coming
Yet Another Startup
This one is brand new, and has limited traction—but I expect that to change shortly. They’ve created a nice little form, that effectively creates an interview. You respond to their questions and, if selected, they create a post from your submission—and tweet about your startup. They still don’t have an index page, which makes their posts difficult to access, which is a shame. Here’s an example of what posts look like.
Clean, contemporary design/functionality, which indicates someone cares about this one. The number of startups listed is still limited, but this will soon change. They offer a paid option if you want preferred service.
This service pulls launch activity from ProductHunt, Betalist, and StartupLi.st, and compiles it into a daily email. You can also submit your startup, for $29. This is cheap, but might not be worth it, if your startup has already been covered by one of the aforementioned services. At this time, Launch Lister’s following seems quite small.
Another new service, ListHunt is a daily review and curation of tech/startups that millennials (sorry Gen-Xers) care about. They also provide tips on launching your startup. They offer free listing, or you can pay ($45 – $90) for additional options.
A place to show side projects and startups, in order to get feedback and iterate early. Seems like a new community with comments/interaction. Easy submission process, and free of charge.
Startup/product announcement sites
So many startups are released that a number of sites exist solely to document these launches. These very from the highly influential, to weekend projects that have been abandoned. The bigger networks are bombarded by traffic, but can yield a lot of discussion/traffic; whereas, the lesser known ones are often easier to get mentioned on—but might not serve up any real interest. So, my approach is to simply fill in all of the submission forms, and take whatever comes—instead of debating where to post.
This site lists new startups, and shares selected submissions in a daily newsletter. You just fill in a form with basic information (startup name, website URL, pitch, et cetera). Upon doing so, you can either go the basic route, or pay a few dollars to prioritize your submission and get preferred treatment (well worth the few dollars). This site doesn’t drive a ton of traffic, but it might in the future. And it’s a nice resource.
You’ve probably already heard about Product Hunt. It’s a reasonably new service that showcases new tech, games, books, and podcasts. The community then votes and comments on submissions. The challenge with PH is that it’s pummelled with submissions, so, getting to the homepage is tough. To increase your odds, have a person with high karma “hunt” (submit) your startup. You might also want to pick a less busy day (weekend traffic is substantially lower than Thursdays and Fridays).
A nice listing of recently launched products and apps. The sign-up process is simple (albeit a little buggy). Just sign-up for an account, and enter a few basic details about what you made. From there, your submission is reviewed, and (if all things are good) your project gets added to their listings. It appears that commenting is coming, too, but that isn’t in place, yet.
A blog that’s focused on strengthening India’s startup ecosystem. It publishes a variety of articles related to entrepreneurship, management, and technology—also reviews startups. Submission process is simple and grief-free. Select startups are featured in reasonably comprehensive articles.
Having been around for some time, Killer Startups focuses on reviewing new startups and spreading the word. Since 2007, they’ve reviewed over 88,000 startups, and they boast 6 million annual pageviews. Upon completing your submission, you select the free service (requires 60 – 90 days of waiting) or a promotion plan (ranging from $169 – $399).
Just Gone Live
New products are showcased here with preview screenshots. These lead to summary pages with tags and links to the varying products. The submission process is brief, and limited to some basic information and a screen grab. Submissions are placed in a review queue, and selected ones are then listed.
The Museum of Modern Betas
A gut-check of sorts for today’s startup founder, The Museum of Modern Betas (MoMB) in its 10 years has chronicled more than 11,900 sites. Scary, huh? I know of love this site for how unblemished it feels: just a list of screen grabs, service names, links, and brief summaries. I can’t find a submission page anywhere on this, so I just emailed. You can find Saurier’s contact information on his About page.
A nice, clean grid of startups. Each card shows a screen grab, startup name, URL, and link to additional information. The submission process feels responsive and quick. They give you the option of tweeting or posting a plug for their service, to get priority service. I always feel weird about this sort of thing, but I can appreciate their need to build their network.
A simple grid listing of startups that can be sorted by categories (country, industry) and tags. Quick submission process, after which your post goes into a moderation queue. Doesn’t seem to have a lot of reach (it appears to be quite new). They focus on startups in Europe, but this information is tucked away in the footer. So, I submitted our Canadian startup, not even realizing that I probably shouldn’t have.
This site lists new apps for businesses. The service feels somewhat forgotten, but listings appears to be current—and they have some social awareness. There is a criteria for submissions, which you can review on their Suggest page.
The folks behind Side Projectors are doing some interesting things. Not only can you post your side-project, you can sell it, and/or find a co-founder here. If this one takes off, I can see it becoming more of a startup/side-project community than just a listings site (which so many others fall into).
This one seems like it’s not getting the love it once did—and a little like it’s stuck in 2010. That said, they’ve listed a lot of sites/apps, which are documented with an image, description, tags, and sharing functionality. Submission involves completing 7 fields of text, and they take care of the rest.
Reviews web-based apps for business. You submit by sending an email outlining what your app does and why you think it should be featured. If you don’t have a fully functional free trial, you’ll need to supply a review copy.
An enormous undertaking, Appvita has selected and reviewed over 1,600 browser-based web apps, since 2006. They follow the same popular grid style as many other sites. However, once you click through to the individual app pages, you find a detailed summary of each app. These range from practical uses and insider tips, to company info and costs. Submissions are made by email, and they contact you if they’re interested.
London-based Springwise shares stories about innovation. They’ve done so since 2002, and the site is a real gem: nice design, good sorting, and a real diversity of stories. The writing is also likeable, and extends past software to a wide variety of things. The submission process involves filling in a brief form and providing some info. I suppose you hear back from them if they like your idea. (I’d like to hear back from this one.)
A little on the dated side, Feedmyapp is in need of some love—or a redesign at the least. That said, listings are current, and most are in the form of a review. This adds a lot of value to the site, as it results in more involved and useful information for visitors. After completing your submission, you’re asked to pay between $1.90 and $49.00 to help cover costs. The $49 option guarantees a review, and I think that’s pretty remarkable value.
This one forces you to sign up for their newsletter, in order to submit your startup. (Sort of a drag.) You can submit your startup for free, with a 60 day wait, or pay $19 to jump the queue. They claim to have a reach of 3,500 email subscribers, 8,000 social media followers, and daily readership of 1,000. (My hunch is that they rounded all of these numbers up.) Still, for less than $20, I figure, it’s worth a shot.
A place for early adopters to discover upcoming mobile apps and games startup. You submit your startup, and users then upvote/comment. Submissions are reviewed by their team, and approved if your submission meets their criteria.
A leads service. You submit your app, and then sign up for a paid lead-generation campaign. These programs start at $1,000.
The big ones
Then, there are the major media sources that also (sort of) post about new startups. Most of these won’t give you the time of day. (This is fair, as these groups are obviously inundated with emails.) However, if you’ve launched something contentious or out-of-this-world amazing, who knows? You might have a shot. Better craft a heck of a pitch, though.
Pitches to: email@example.com
Pitches to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pitches to: email@example.com
Pitches to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pitches to: email@example.com
Sort of a Groupon for startups, SignUpFirst is doing something interesting. You simply come up with a special offer you’re willing to make available to their users. Then, they feature your startup. I really wanted to try this one out, but Officehours is already free, so I found it difficult to come up with a special offer that seemed suitable.
Google+ Entrepreneurs Community
If your startup is useful to entrepreneurs, you can request access to this G+ (yes, it’s still alive) community. Then, read the rules, and ensure you comply, before showing off your thing.
A novel idea, StartupRanking attempts to reflect the importance of your startup on the web. In actuality, it’s more like a weird sort of PageRank that measures internal/external links (and quality of), SEO factors, social media followings/engagement, and other indicators. I’m happy to have another place to add our startup, but I don’t care so much about how our startup ranks, here. (Review takes 30 days, but you can expedite approval by paying $49.)
This one lets you pitch your app idea to a professional crowd, to get feedback, validation, and early adopters. The service charges $19 to submit a pitch, after which you complete the form, and they display the pitch—and possibly include you in their email newsletter. The form is well-structured, asking you to provide a problem, solution, use case, et cetera. Commenting/traction seems pretty limited, so I hesitated on posting. That said I’m giving it a spin and will see if it brings any interest/discussion.
Centercode created this listing service that connects you with beta users. (A smart sales tool, as it feeds them new prospects.) The idea is sound enough, but they have some strange requirements. For example your landing page needs to have the word “beta” on it, to be considered. (Isn’t everything always in perpetual beta, now?) I skipped this one, as changing our website copy for one listing service seemed silly.
StartUpLift is one part listing service, one part beta-testing service. It allows you to post your startup, and then ask users a handful of testing questions. I like this idea, and I think it’s a viable business. On the other hand, I disliked how pricing (ranging from $69 for 3 reviewers, to $189 for 10) was largely hidden until after I submitted my information. For that reason, I skipped this one, too.
Cool Startup, Bro?
I have a hard time taking this one seriously, but it only takes three form fields to submit your startup. With that little effort, I figure there’s not a lot to lose. And I kind of like their approach: just videos.
A simple list of startups, displayed in a visual grid. Submit for free, or donate a few bucks to get featured. Submission is simple—just post a screen grab and some basic details, and you’re done.
An interesting means of both showing what you’re working on, and getting a sense for some others who are doing the same. You join the service, add your product, and supply some general information. Then, you identify some of the products yours is an alternative to, and the system suggests others.
In the same vein as alternativeTo, these folks list apps, and alternatives (go figure). That said, they explain that 99% of submissions will not get listed on their service.
They once were giants
A lot changes in 10 years—especially online. Here are a few sites that at one time could shut down your web server. These no longer carry the same relevance, but for nostalgia’s sake, I sometimes post to them.
Once upon a time (around 2008) getting your site on StumbleUpon could mean a nice surge of new visits to your site/service. In my experience, those days are over. You can still post your new thing here, but I haven’t seen a lot of uptake on anything from here, in a good while.
Much like StumbleUpon, Digg’s best days seem behind it. Frankly, it’s probably not the right place to make mention of your new product. That said, I figure the time-cost to do so is insignificant enough to toss a link at it, anyway.
Probably not, but maybe
Next, we have a few more specific sites/services. For example, you might have a shot here if you make a tangible products, a B2B web app, or something that cranky designers like. I’ve separated these from the rest, as I know they’re only useful to a few of you—nevertheless, they’re here.
You probably know all about Kickstarter, already. It isn’t so much a place to announce your launched startup, as it is a place to build interest—and raise money—for your upcoming project. Again, I know you know Kickstarter—but I felt this list would be incomplete if I didn’t include it.
This is not a startup listing service. Instead, StartHQ is a tool that allows users to quickly search, access, and do other things with web apps. If you want to make your web app accessible through their tool, you can submit your app for approval. That said, yours must be browser accessible, provide login capabilities, be publicly available, have an English version, and be aimed at businesses—not consumers.
Bless This Stuff
I don’t build things you can hold, so I’ve never submitted anything to Bless This Stuff. Nevertheless, I so enjoy scanning the new things they showcase that I continually visit this site. With this in mind, I say: if you have a cool thing to share, it might be worth sending them an email. If not, you should just browse their feed to see some of the cool things posted.
Some services are so specific that I couldn’t submit our startup to them. That said, you might fulfill the criteria. These are as follows:
If you’re Romanian, great. If not, move on.
For Serbian startups. (The Contact form is broken—which is somewhat inconvenient.)
A blog covering tech/startups in Central and Eastern Europe.
Central and Eastern Europe.
A large blog covering entrepreneurs in India.
Les Outils du Web
French directory of the web 2.0 sites and services by Fidel Navamuel.
Just for fun
Check out the animated flames on the Submit page.
And then there are the ones that have come and gone. I’ll post them here, just so you know to avoid them:
Down for the past few days. Maybe coming back?
Last post March 2015
Last post March 2015
Last post February 2015
Last post 2014
Last post 2014
Last post 2014
Last post 2014
Last post 2013
Last post 2012
Last post 2012
The Startup Project
Last post 2012
On The App
Last post 2010
Last post 2009
Their most recent web app listing is Dropbox. (Seriously.)
Coming back “shortly.”
Dead contact form
The don’t come around here no more.
Go 2 Web 2.0
Gone 2 The Crematorium 2.0
Net Web App
“Hey—you got your self on the AOL? You know … ‘the net’?”
What’s on today’s menu? An untrusted connection.
Great Web Apps
The helicopter moms couldn’t save this one.
And that wraps it up!
Again, I could have just paid a third-party service to submit Officehours to many of the above sites. I was a little wary of doing so, though. My concern was that many sites would require specific descriptions—and a service would have a hard time tailoring our message appropriately. Plus, I was interested to see what would come from all of this.
I just finished posting to all of these sites, so it’ll be a little while before I know if doing so had much impact. From a traffic standpoint, I suspect we’ll see a brief bump. However, what I really think you can gain from submitting to these services, is feedback. At the outset, you need people telling you what’s broken with your product, and anything that doesn’t make sense.
I’ve probably missed some startup launch sites, in the above summary. Got one that I need to know about? Share it on Chapp, under #StartupLaunchSites, and I’ll add it to this list.