Experienced founders, how did you solve the cold start problem?

Hunter Zhao
2 replies
How did you build the initial customer base for an app that relies on having an existing user base to function (e.g. a dating app)? Did you start by focusing on a niche? Create multiple accounts to boost perceived activity?


Andrew Glenn
Joshua Ogundu offered insights about this when talking about his dating app start-up "Heart-to-Heart" on the Equity podcast last week. He talked about how focusing on a specific geo is critical to build critical mass and have a sufficient customer base, before expanding elsewhere. So, his app, is only currently available in LA and NYC (if I remember correctly), but they have plans to expand elsewhere. The one cautionary thing I would suggest is, just be above board. Don't resort to sneaky things like adding bots or fake accounts to make it seem like there's a larger user base. That usually gets discovered at some point with backlash.
Hunter Zhao
@asglenn That makes sense. I think having a concentration of users within close physical proximity of one another definitely has a positive effect towards expanding the overall network. After all, most people's social circles are local. As for bots, I've heard many now-famous startups used bots or fake accounts to boost traffic. It may be useful in the early days of the internet when bot detection is not as advanced, but nowadays it has become increasingly difficult to replicate the same effect.