The 7 Things Billion-Dollar Startups Did to Be Successful

The 7 Things Billion-Dollar Startups Did to Be Successful


Today’s innovative and disruptive startups are changing how we use technology and how we lead our daily productive lives. Young business leaders are changing how we use our mobile devices, how we interact with each other, what we share, how we share information with each other, how we consume information, how we listen to music etc.

These extraordinary and successful startups have disrupted their industries and are making great impact in the daily lives of internet users and business professionals. These successfully executed strategies were shared by their founders with journalists and popular technology blogs across the web.

Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek.

–Spotify is one of the most popular if not the most popular music streaming service.

We look at the sharing of music as really, really important for our business. We’ve found that the more social our users are — i.e., they’re sharing music — the faster they grow their own music library. [And] the faster they grow their music library, the faster they become paying customers.

# Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann.

—Pinterest was perhaps the most popular social sharing service in 2012. Pinterest is a pinboard-style photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies, and more.

I personally wrote to the site’s first 5,000 users offering his personal phone number and even meeting with some of its users. It wasn’t because of celebrity users who brought in growth spurts, as with some other services like Twitter, but rather through networks of people like design bloggers.

# Dropbox founder, Drew Houston

—Dropbox is a free cloud service that lets users bring all photos, docs and videos into a folder that can be accessed on any PC, Mac or mobile device.

Dropbox released a demo video that captured Y Combinator’s attention and helped Dropbox secure an invitation to join the exclusive startup program. The video drove hundreds of thousands of people to the website. Our beta waiting list went from 5,000 people to 75,000 people literally overnight. It totally blew us away.

# Evernote co-founder,Phil Libin

—Evernote is perhaps the most popular productivity app right now. You may already know that, actually you may even be using it.

We launched closed beta on TechCrunch, we were lucky enough that TechCrunch wrote about us right as we were starting the closed beta and we gave away 100 invites, that was the first spark. We don’t care if you pay, we just want you to stay around and keep using it and get all your friends to use it. The longer you stay, the more likely that you’re going to fall in love with it and then pay.

# Instagram co-founder, Kevin Systrom

—It took hot photo-sharing startup Instagram just three months to reach its first million users.

We did too much on purpose. We were trying to figure out what got people amped. When you’re introducing a mobile app, you look around and say, we could be doing 15 different things, but how do we communicate to someone why they would want to download and even sign up for this thing?

# Fab founder, Jason Goldberg

—Fab is an e-commerce company focused on everyday design across all price points and all verticals. It is one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites right now.

Fab is a viral success, in part because of a clever invite scheme. When Fab.com launched, users could request an invite, then gain different levels of access based on how many of their friends joined.

Over 90 percent of the products that you find on Fab, you can’t buy on Amazon or on other online retailers. And that’s because we’ve got this awesome team of design scouts, who literally scour the earth looking for great design finds, and based on how excited we make users.

Airbnb founder, Brian Chesky

—Airbnb, a short-term rentals company is a classic Silicon Valley story of bootstrapping, rejection and an eventual success.

There were a myriad of tactics we used—we went as far as knocking on people’s doors. We’d host parties and meetups and all sorts of different things. We’d just visit all of our users, we’d go to their homes and talk to them and do interviews. Press was always the number one tactic for us. The press would spark another group of users, then we’d go visit those people and talk to them and get them excited. It was a pattern that repeated itself.