If I could remember correctly, it was just four weeks ago at a Sunfire labs startup party where Vi and I came up with the idea of Growthathon. At that time our startup Fandrop had just closed up registration to prepare for engagement testing at Stanford.
We received a lot of inbound requests from startups to be featured at the event, amongst which we picked GetIntro and Crowdtilt. Both are promising startups that are in the consumer space, and both have tremendous growth potential in their respective territory – people discovery and crowd funding.
We asked ourselves: “Wouldn’t it be cool if there’s a growth hackathon?” Boom. Growthathon is born! During the Growthathon, distribution strategies are crowd sourced based on startups’ requests. Companies could request for distribution channels, engagement growth, raising awareness, or anything that “grows” a company.
As we presented the idea to others, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Not only did every initial startup we proposed to said yes, they also gave us a tremendous amount of support in the forms of suggestions, connections, and resources. We immediately got to work and developed the Growthathon site as a MVP. Before we knew it, the project grew into a mini ecosystem that involves Speakers, mentors, attendees, partners and sponsors. The first startup we talked to was FamilyLeaf. They just did YC and moved to a startup house in SF. They were hugely successful in growing their user base through PRs, and were looking for new ways to gain user base. Ajay asked me if I knew any growth hacker to be the next hire in the Peninsula. Next thing you know, we were sitting at Farley’s sipping coffee and brainstorming the logistics of the Growthathon. The next partner is Apartment List, who we met at Vator. Their engineering team were so talented they quickly built a new back end for a leader board system just for the Growthathon. Impressive! We received a lot of inbound requests from startups to be featured at the event, amongst which we picked GetIntro and Bouttika. Both are promising startups that are in the consumer space, and both have tremendous growth potential in their respective territory – people, and fashion discovery. In addition, Wello is a platform for personal training sessions founded by a group of Stanford MBAs. Carrotmob is an increasingly popular nonprofit organization promoting socially responsible businesses.
The premise of the Growthathon is to bring together startups with growth challenges, and to put these challenges up to many growth experts and growth hackers. There are expert talks, mentoring sessions, prizes, and the hack-a-thon lasts a week. The winner is the team that gets the most traction.
Fandrop is the main organizer of the Growthathon along with Aaron Ginn. Fandrop is an exclusive community of “droppers” that use the “droplet” button to discover and share the best parts of the web. Fandrop was also voted as a top 10 Vator Splash company in 2012. It received 1 million page views within the first few weeks of launching before closing down registration, to privately test user engagement at Stanford University.
Aaron Ginn is the head of growth at Stumbleupon. He also writes for the Techcrunch series of “Growthing Hacking”