Interview: Ryan Heybourn - The Startup Button

In this month's interview series we are joined by Ryan Heybourn, founder of The Startup Button, an engaging place for the community to discover new internet startups, and for founders to share their startups with the world.

I first came across The Startup Button while on Product Hunt and instantly submitted NoCode. This wasn't Ryan's first time on PH either. Ryan has been featured on PH numerous times and again just recently with his latest product titled 'Scrum'.

Ryan provides some great advice below, most notably how he got featured on Product Hunt, his challenges, obtaining users and much more.

Ryan is also currently selling The Startup Button on Flippa. This could be a great opportunity for someone to continue building on the success of The Startup Button and earn a reasonable amount in the process.

Ryan Heybourn

Ryan Heybourn, founder of The Startup Button

Can you tell us a little bit about how The Startup Button came about?

The Startup Button was born from the sheer frustration I always seemed to face when trying to launch a startup or new product. Gaining early adopters and traffic is hard, so I wanted to build a fun and unique way for users to discover startups, whilst providing an effective platform for founders to share them. I launched the first version of the website on Product Hunt in February of 2017 and the community loved it. A second version of the site and Chrome extension followed shortly thereafter and I've just recently released an addition to The Startup Button atmosphere - Scrum; a place for creators to share the projects they're working on.

What problem is The Startup Button trying to solve?

The Startup Button is my attempt at building an unbiased startup discovery platform. Without upvotes or likes impacting results, users are presented with different community submitted startups every time they click a button. ​

There are a few other notable startup directories out here (Beta List, Next, Beta Page etc) what sets The Startup Button apart from these competitors?

I think the concept of random discovery is something that entices a lot of people to try The Startup Button out. I strived to create a platform that was unbiased and allowed every startup an equal chance of being discovered. I also wanted to make the experience of discovering said startups fun and rewarding for users. Inspired by The Useless Web’s approach, I built a single button that redirects users to a new startup every time they click it. No registrations, no comments and no upvotes or likes.

Levelling the playing field like this is something that I believe sets the platform apart from others.


What are some of the biggest challenges you faced launching The Startup Button?

One of my biggest challenges has been moderation. Due to the site’s lack of requirements for submission, I would constantly have my index flooded with hundreds of links and startups that were unsuitable. I've since hired two super talented people who moderate and curate this list on a daily basis.

How did you initially get users to your site?

Like most of my launches, I used Product Hunt and Twitter to get initial users to the website. I sent emails to a bunch of my contacts and news spread quickly throughout the community. I'm actually still receiving users from my initial Product Hunt post to this day!

What’s next for The Startup Button? ​

​I’ve been growing The Startup Button for a little over four months now and believe I’ve reached the pinnacle of what I am able to achieve given my skills and time. Due to this, I’ve decided to sell and hopefully find a new owner who can develop the website even more. You can learn more about the sale here.

You just launched Scrum, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Yeah! I’m a huge fan of Twitter and like most entrepreneurs, constantly use it for tweeting out progress updates for my projects. I wanted a way to find new in-progress projects I could follow and share my feedback on throughout development. This led to Scrum, another successful Product Hunt launch and over 100+ submissions on the first day it went live.

Any free marketing hacks for new startups and entrepreneurs?

Ensure you accommodate for traffic from Product Hunt months after your product was featured. Traffic from here is constant, and with the addition of their ‘collections’ and more recently, ‘Ask ProductHunt’, your product or startup can always find itself at the top of another list.

Scrum screenshot

Scrum - Share your side project progress with the community

Now that the barriers to entrepreneurship are getting lower, have you noticed the rise in the non-technical users looking to dip their toes in having an online presence? ​

I love the internet as it enables anyone to share something with the rest of the world. I started making products online when I was twelve and taught myself to code through YouTube and Stack Overflow. With the introduction of tools like Webflow and Shopify, users no longer require an advanced coding knowledge or technical background to develop an online presence. I’ve definitely seen growth in the number of non-technical founders and I believe this is something that we in the community should welcome with open arms.

Is The Startup Button a side project? If so, how do you juggle building this (amongst other things) whilst working a full time job? ​

The Startup Button was a side project and did a fantastic job of being so. It generated a small income, required next-to-no maintenance and grew every month. I’m a huge fan of making my websites automatic and built multiple cron jobs to run tasks and operations for me. I also build websites for a living, so working on new ideas isn’t hard to do.

You recently featured on Product Hunt twice in the same month with two new products, how did you pull this off? ​

Product Hunt - Startup Button

Featured on Product Hunt □

Building a product that you think will benefit the community is the first step. Build hype, share it with coworkers and get some initial feedback before launching. When you’re ready, either hunt it yourself or reach out to someone in the Product Hunt community and ask them to do it for you. I’ve found that products posted on Wednesday (before the leaderboard resets) are those that reach the most amount of upvotes compared to the rest of the week - however, you’re more likely to be competing with bigger and better products from the likes of Google or Facebook.

If you’d prefer to receive less upvotes but remain on the top of the website for the day, post on the weekend.