The past month has been absolutely nuts, and I've been dying to share this news with all of you: Indie Hackers is being acquired by Stripe!
When I set out to build Indie Hackers last July, there weren't many places that put profitable online businesses in the spotlight. I wanted to create a community where successful founders could share their valuable stories and insights, and where aspiring entrepreneurs could go for inspiration and advice. At its heart, Indie Hackers is a place for having honest and transparent conversations about starting and growing online businesses.
I've followed the same path myself, growing Indie Hackers' revenue from nothing to almost $6000/month, and learning a lot along the way. However, filling ad inventory every month has come at a cost. It was starting to occupy a large chunk of my time, and I found myself spending less and less time producing great content for the interviews, the podcast, and the forum — the very reasons I created the site in the first place.
Then, in early March, I received a surprising email. I had just stepped off the plane after a long flight to Mexico, and I was waiting in line for a taxi when my phone buzzed. The email was from Patrick Collison, the CEO of Stripe, and the subject was "acquire indie hackers". 😮
Like most developers and entrepreneurs I know, I've always admired Stripe's ambitious mission to make it easier for entrepreneurs to build and grow their online businesses. The more we talked, the more obvious it became that my joining Stripe would be a huge win for everyone involved, especially the Indie Hackers community.
With Stripe's help, I'll be free to focus 100% of my efforts on improving the site itself, similar to Y Combinator's stewardship of Hacker News. Over time, Stripe can help grow the Indie Hackers community and spread the stories and insights from experienced entrepreneurs even more widely.
What's in it for Stripe?
Stripe wants to grow the GDP of the internet. (Patio11 talked about this in his Product Hunt AMA last week.) As crazy as it may seem, it's not a stretch to say that anything that gets more people to start businesses and that helps those businesses succeed is a win for Stripe. Indie Hackers is a natural home for inspiring founders and empowering their growth.
Unlike a lot of startup communities, Indie Hackers is firmly about businesses that generate real revenue and the entrepreneurs behind them. These contributors can provide Stripe with better insights into the needs and challenges faced by people who often don't have the luxury of VC funding. At least 40 of the companies I've interviewed already use Stripe to collect payments and sing its praises.
And, of course, Stripe's amazing products and resources can help these same entrepreneurs hit the ground running. For example, Atlas makes it super easy for founders all over the world to establish an internet business from scratch.
(I've been sitting next to the Atlas team at Stripe, and they're truly working miracles over there… including turning boxes full of donuts into empty boxes 😝)
So what now?
One remarkable thing about this change is just how little is actually changing.
As a full-time employee at Stripe, I'll be working exclusively on Indie Hackers. In fact, my official title is "Indie Hacker at Stripe". 😎
My brother, Channing, who's been helping me run the site in recent months, will also be joining Stripe to work alongside me.
The goal will be the same as it's always been: to foster the kinds of transparent conversations that will help entrepreneurs learn from each other. Stripe has given me considerable latitude to decide how to go about doing this.
In the short run, I plan to spend a lot of time improving the community forum itself, sharing original content there, and making it more valuable for everyone who participates. And, effective immediately, I'm no longer taking on new sponsors. The ads on the site right now are the last ones I'll run on Indie Hackers for the foreseeable future.
In the long run, I have some cool ideas for taking advantage of Stripe's considerable resources to help grow Indie Hackers' reach and impact. It's too early to tell precisely how this will unfold, but it's something I'll be talking about a lot in the coming months.
Transparency is a big part of Indie Hackers, and I plan to continue working in public and asking you guys random questions on Twitter. To start with, let me know your thoughts about the acquisition! What would you like to see from Stripe + Indie Hackers going forward?
— Courtland (@csallen)