Hidden Founders helps first-time startup founders build and test their MVP

Here is how we do it

How to Grow A Startup: The 5 Best Tips I’ve ever learned.

By Hicham Amine • November 2, 2017


How many startups launched last year? How many of them succeeded?

Some data suggests that up to 95 percent of startups fail, but it’s difficult to exactly pinpoint why it happens. Some of them fail simply because they didn’t create something people want, while great many vanish due to the wrong execution of their growth and marketing.

Growth is key, yet growing a startup is really hard and most founders struggle with it.

What makes it even harder is the overwhelming amount of tactics and the “one size fits all” hacks that dictate how we should be running our own growth and marketing efforts.

Usually these tips are meant to be an inspiration, but a lot of founders take them too seriously and apply them directly — regardless of the context of their product or customers.

I think this happens because many founders love “short-cuts” and fantasize about hockey-stick curves. Stories we’ve heard about Dropbox, Airbnb or other unicorns have led us to believe that growth is about chasing this one silver bullet that will magically change the course of our history.

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5 Steps Most Non-Technical Founders Don’t Accomplish Before Finding a CTO

By Hicham Amine •

This is an attempt to answer all the “How can I find a technical co-founder?” that many folks, with the next billion-dollar idea, keep asking about around the internet.


You got it, I was being ironic. Because no idea is worth a billion dollars, or even a dime. Yet, many first-time startup founders seem to overvalue their pitch expecting everyone to be just as excited about their ideas as they are: Be it a customer, investor and more importantly a strong founding team that will turn their vision into reality.

There is no harm in pitching an idea. The issue is nobody will take you seriously (except close friends and family) unless you translate your words into action and into something people want. To achieve that, the common route is to find a technical partner to help you get your project off the ground.

After helping many founders get started on their product for the last couple of years, I got to realize most founders are looking for a tech co-founder before they need one.

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How we got +1000 upvotes on Product Hunt by curating a checklist from +50 successful launches.

By Hicham Amine • October 25, 2017

On September 2016, I analyzed +50 successful launch on Product Hunt, 20 Days later I participated in getting Startup Patterns +1000 Upvotes outranking Spotify Daily & Mavic Pro. And this is what I did to get there and the patterns I found.

Whether you’re a newbie or oldie on Product Hunt, I hope this article will save you the hurdles and the time I had to invest analyzing dozens of successful Product Hunt launches, reading +50 blogposts & interviewing dozens of founders who went through our previous Hidden Founders Batches… to figure out my way to cut through the noise and smash +1000 upvotes on my first Product Hunt launch.

But before I share with you my checklist, let’s put this straight. You’ve probably heard the saying “Do things that don’t scale“ by Paul Graham. Yeah, this is the golden advice, if you’re willing to succeed on Product Hunt.

What I mean here, is that unlike other platforms where cash rules, where you A/B test, optimize and start tinkering around hacks and tactics to unlock the platform’s potential for your business once and for all, Product Hunt is different:

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CTOs Are The New Pandas

By Yassine El Kachchani •
shutterstock_127204232 - Copie


Ok, so maybe they’re not. They’re not endangered, they’re not that cute, and they don’t have the time to play mascot to anybody’s cause. The analogy is still tempting, however, because CTOs seem to be the current issue” of the global startup trend: founders need them, accelerators like them, and aspiring startup cities are desperate for them to move in.

There are many specific reasons for the scarcity of CTOs in any of these new startup hubs, and most of them have something to do with regional history, legislature, infrastructure or economic context.  However, regardless of particularities, all these reasons stem from a simple issue of supply and demand; there just aren’t that many developers out there.

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The evolution of the Startup pitch: from Napkin to Traction Data

By Yassine El Kachchani • November 16, 2015

When I was first introduced to the Startup world, the word “pitch” came up in nearly every conversation. It certainly didn’t help the fresh-faced foreigner I was that the term came from Baseball, a sport I have yet to understand.
I’ve listened to hundreds of pitches from Hidden Founders applicants these last 8 months. Most have confessed that they expected more return from their pitching efforts when they started.
I’m hoping some insight will save first time founders time and help them avoid stagnation while trying to involve more and more people in their journey.

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How analytics will make you better founder material

By Yassine El Kachchani • April 22, 2015

In an earlier blog post, we discussed how these last few years, the startup industry has firmly decided that “business profile” founders are bad guys. In the in-crowds –investors in the know, accelerators, up-and-coming mentors, tech bloggers- people bond over beer and business-founders bashing. It could seem like bad news for these business graduate founders, but it’s not. A lot of this aversion is grounded in valid reasons. It means there are concrete steps you can take to not be judged a useless profiteering fake with no appreciation for other people’s “real” skills.

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Hidden Founders first application round closed

By Yassine El Kachchani • January 20, 2015

We have officially kicked off Hidden Founders’ first batch!

Closing this first round took us longer than expected, because each time we’d think of stopping the late applications, we’d receive yet another exciting project that would make us want to wait just a little longer for things to “slow down”. Except they are not really going to slow down, because there are amazing startup projects out there, and the longer we wait, the more chances there will be that they hear about Hidden Founders and apply, and that would not make the selection any easier for us. So we just clamped our teeth, shut down the process until the next batch, and sweated a little on that final list of startups.

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Product Hunt: How Hidden Founders learned Russian

By Yassine El Kachchani • December 29, 2014

We’re big fans of consistency. Building a new business is a sporty journey, with a lot of surprises along the way, so we appreciate a little predictability when we have it. Our growth strategy shows that pretty strongly: we first put Hidden Founders out there by relying almost exclusively on networking, emails, and plain old one-to-one. It’s only very recently, when Hidden Founders ranked first on Product Hunt, that we had to put our love for predictable results aside for a minute, and just enjoy the ride.

In the past four months, we have skyped with at least five new prospective founders every day. It was hideously time-consuming and pretty much the opposite of scalable, and the applications came in slowly, but we still kept it up because it delivered consistent results. Talking to people gives you the opportunity to build your case and to respond to questions and feedback in real-time. You’re a person with a set of skills, not just a company name. That is already an advantage.

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European Startup Tour (second stop): Stockholm (yep, exactly)

By Yassine El Kachchani • July 1, 2014

Here’s the real title of this post: Handsome Smart People with Motivation and Passion (WHAT ?!). We just couldn’t use it for SEO concerns….

After Berlin, we headed to Stockholm as our second stop for our European Tour. Here’s what happened.

We started by the usual city visit. Felt like a city of Clooneys and Therons (we didn’t melt in the background this time because you just fucking can’t).

City is royal. I think they recruit princes and princesses from there. It felt like every person was in product/market fit physically, no more iteration needed, sir Steve Blank.

Jokes aside, we had quality time hanging out with the swedish startup scene.

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