Consiglio dei fondatori
Consiglio dei fondatori

How Ryan Holmes is Helping People Go from Idea to Startup

People use different mediums to test their ideas or early stage products from Kickstarter to Product Hunt - but what about pre-company? Here's how and why Ryan Holmes is helping new ideas grow.
Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite on his new startup Kernal

During my time building Hootsuite, I built up 12 years of business ideas in my notebook that I’ve been waiting to toy with. After looking around, I’ve realized there wasn’t a good platform to share startup ideas to get the validation you need to chase down an idea. As a result, I called together a small team to develop this platform with a goal of making more startup ideas see the light of day.

In my time as an entrepreneur, I’ve found a recurring theme that the best ideas don’t always come from the best entrepreneurs or CEOs. So I thought if we could create a space to be the platform of ideas, it takes the pressure off of everyone to be a perfect ideator, entrepreneur and CEO. If you’re great at one, you can stick to that and partner with others on the platform to lift your idea off the ground. After taking a step back from the day to day operations at Hootsuite, I’ve been starting to explore some new product ideas with a studio I’ll be launching later this year.

The vision for Kernal was inspired by an idea I had when I realized there was a platform for products (Product Hunt), questions (Quora) and fundraising (AngelList), but there isn’t a platform for founders to share startup ideas and hear feedback before building them. So, after some brainstorming, we launched Kernal is an early MVP of what our team’s been exploring around the need for a startup idea platform.

The mission for Kernal is to build a well recognized community of creatives that strive to find, share and grow startup ideas. This platform is intended to be a fun and inspiring community to spark new ideas and share feedback on concepts that you’d use, purchase, help build or invest in.

A business is more than an idea

In many ways, the goal we have for Kernal is to positively impact the creation of new businesses through community and collaboration. I believe the platform provides creative minds a consolidated space to share ideas and get real time feedback on their concepts. In a world where so many ideas are shared online, we take joy in creating a moderated space where busy minds can get direct access to smart founders, experienced investors and CEOs that have scaled ideas into million dollar brands. We even have a couple unicorn founders in the community like Yancey Stickler, founder of Kickstarter, and Michele Romenow, founder of Clearbanc.

Too many young entrepreneurs believe the longer they sit on their idea, the stronger it gets. But in today’s fast paced market, I believe startup founders should be quicker to learn and pivot on advice that’s given in the early stage. And that’s what we’re excited to provide.

DocSend Startup Index Note: Ryan’s advice to founders is entirely in sync with our data. Product readiness is crucial for founders at the pre-seed stage. Investors are demanding more formalized products at the earliest stages, and founders should respond accordingly and act on their ideas. Our most recent Pre-Seed Report found that in 2020 investors spent 46% more time scrutinizing the product section of pitch decks than they did in 2019. We also found that 89% of companies surveyed had a product at least in the alpha stage, and 19% had already launched a product.

Getting our own idea, Kernal, off the ground

Our team has been very inspired by the eager response to sign up and share ideas so far. With just a few social media announcements and twitter DM’ing, we’ve been able to reach 3,500+ users and 650+ startup ideas on the platform. In terms of measuring success, we look at how many users are inviting others in, how often ideas are being shared and which ideas are shipping into MVPs that the community can see. So far we’ve seen close to a dozen ideas surface outside the platform on spaces like ProductHunt, Indiehackers, Trends and other online domains. The public launch timeline is still TBD and we’ve enjoyed building out the platform day by day with our group of 3,500+ beta users that have been onboarded.

This platform is intended to be a fun and inspiring community to spark new ideas and share feedback on concepts that you’d use, purchase, help build or invest in. So:

  • Start exploring ideas you love
  • Meeting people you’re inspired by and
  • Sharing startup idea you think the world needs to solve

We’d love to invite all of the DocSend readers to sign up as early users on (invite link) to see what we’re building. Also, if you have a startup idea or investor advice you’d like to share that we can feature, we’d be happy to mention it in our weekly newsletter.

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