Since its debut less than a year ago, Product Hunt has evolved from a small email list into a must-read for those in the tech and startup space to discover the next great product.
The website and app offer a daily list of direct links to new products, and users can quickly jump right to the product’s website or dive into the comments where you’re likely to find the product’s maker participating in the comments.
It’s sort of like a Reddit for apps/companies. Investors are using Product Hunt to find the next big thing.
In a bit of a twist, today some investors are making a bet that Product Hunt itself could be that next big thing. Product Hunt announced that it raised $US6.1 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital and others.
According to Product Hunt’s founder Ryan Hoover, the funding round fell into place quickly, partially with the help and backing of Y Combinator, who began backing Product Hunt in July.
“Frankly, when I was graduating I was evaluating how much should I raise and who should I raise from, and YC was giving feedback and guidance on that,” Hoover told Business Insider. “We were originally targeting a smaller round, but then we started having conversations with the team at Andreessen Horowitz, and it just made a lot of sense.”
In addition to the funding round, Andreessen Horowitz board partner Steven Sinofsky will also join Product Hunt’s board of directors.
Sinofsky says he first met Hoover when he was “in his element curating products” outside of the firm’s formal pitch room.
“Ryan’s an amazing guy, he’s built his community,” Sinofsky told Business Insider. “He lives, eats, and breathes community and bringing people together in a positive and instructive way. He’s a talent and we’re excited to work with him and support him as much as we can.”
Hoover says a majority of the funding will go toward hiring staff, but the Hoover says he envisions Product Hunt evolving into the premiere place for all types of products, whether they’re games, music, movies, or books.
The Product Hunt team is also hard at work building out the site’s social features which will roll out over the next few weeks. In addition to user profiles, users will be able to follow prominent members and receive smart notifications on the Product Hunt app when a new product is released.
In many ways, Product Hunt is unique in the melting pot it’s created. It gives consumers, those in the startup scene, and investors a place discover and discuss the latest hot product, and that sense of community is one of the key things that gained Sinofsky’s interest.
“What Ryan and his team has done has created a forum that clearly identifies ‘We’re the makers.’ And the community recognises and respects that … that’s hard and takes time.”
Next, Hoover wants to create that same sense of community around other genres of products.
“Being focused on the startup world, it’s a small market in general,” Hoover said. “Games alone is bigger than what we have today. I believe this model can apply to different people.”
Disclosure: Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, is an investor in Business Insider.
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