Acquired by Stripe!

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)

Want to help support Indie Hackers?

  1. 25

    Didn't see this one coming! Congrats @csallen on the acquisition and congrats to Stripe for recognizing the great value IH has been providing since launch!

  2. 17

    I think this is a great move by stripe, and I'm really excited for @csallen. I have some trepidation that my favorite corner of the internet is going to be overrun, but that is probably unfounded.

    I hope to see the site keep focusing on small bootstrapped companies. I love the podcasts and interviews with companies doing <100k/mth in revenue, and I hope to keep reading stories about those companies, even if bigger companies want to be interviewed for PR.

    Congrats, keep up the good work!

  3. 10

    Courtland, congratulations man, that is great news.

    Are you still going to produce the podcast? I think that is one of my favorite podcasts right now.

    I was messaging Zack from Code for Cash this past weekend. We thought it would be cool if there were some IH meetups in major cities like New York. The NY Tech meetup alone has over 53,000 members. What are your thoughts on meetups?

    1. 6

      The podcast is continuing for sure! Although there might be a week or two without an episode. I think meetups would be badass, but haven't had time to put as much thought into them yet as I would like.

  4. 9

    One of the things that made me love IH, was the authenticity in sharing everything you were doing to build up IndieHackers. Now that the site has been acquired, the "real" journey of IH can never be told again from the same perspective because of corporate policies.

    I know that you guys will go on to make IH into the "massive success" it was meant to be, but to me and many others I would assume, it was already a success. IH pulled back the covers on an industry that has been ignored for far too long.

    Solo founders building something from scratch to the delight of their customers (i.e investors) who pay them monthly for use of a great product.

    I wish you guys the best, and truly congratulations on such a speedy acquisition with a closely aligned partner in Stripe. But I would be remiss in saying that a piece of the "indie" spirit died a little today, I hope I'm proven wrong.

  5. 6

    First of all, congrats!!

    What I would like to see built: a cross-marketing "corner".

    A little bit more than a forum (or a dedicated part of the forum).

    A place where an indiehacker post their project listing: their business model, their target audience, the size of their email list (and maybe followers on social networks). And stating that it is open to doing cross-marketing (and through which channel).

    Other indiehackers do the same.

    People find their match (similar target-audience, similar email list size) and mutually agree on cross-marketing, ie, one advertise each other products on their own email list.

    1. 2

      Cool idea! Provides an answer to the difficult question of how to get members of a community to help each other out in equal measure.

    2. 1

      I will just say +1 for this idea. I am sure it will make the community stronger!

    3. 1

      I think this is a really neat idea!

  6. 4

    Nice ! But does that mean we'll not see any monthly income reports ? Feeling a "bit" sad about that as it was great seeing the hustle in making the business of indie hackers roll :/ anyway - thanks for the great job - curious to see where it will go from now ...
    PS : just curious but any numbers on the acquisition ?

    1. 3

      The short answer is: we won't be sharing any of the financial details. But here's the long answer if you're curious why.

  7. 2

    For how much was the aquesition?

    1. 1

      By contract we can't disclose. Sorry!

      1. 1

        boo

  8. 2

    Congrats, Courtland. Definitely want to see the good mix of interviews continue ... small to big, new to established. Looking forward to participating in the forums, too.

  9. 1

    Wow, this is truly inspiring!

  10. 1

    I'm late to the congratulations party here... but if you hadn't been acquired by Stripe I would have suggested you look at the new Smart Media Tokens from the same folks that created STEEM and steemit.com. Shows great potential for building community, monetizing it, and rewarding contributors. For the rest of us without a generous benefactor, SMT could still be worth looking at - very early days yet, but I really feel like it will be going places in the next year: https://smt.steem.io/

  11. 1

    congrats!

  12. 1

    Starting a company shouldn't be hard. If someone is attempting to create value, society should facilitate the attempt. Stripe Atlas hopefully will help this cause.

    1. 1

      Couldn't agree more.

  13. 1

    Wow, incredible and well deserved! Congrats to you, Stripe, and also all of us. Looking forward to seeing IH continue to grow.

  14. 1

    Congrats Courtland! Great news.

  15. 1

    Congrats am so happy and motivated to continue this startup path. Am from Zimbabwe read your interviews all the time for inspiration. Thumbs up!

  16. 1

    Congratulations! As a big fan of the site, and someone who has been through an acquisition, I have a request: during this transition please be very slow and thoughtful in changes you make going forward. You got this far because of exactly what you built - any changes you make from this point will be influenced by a different context, and scrutinized differently as well. Your readers will be surprised and delighted if the site doesn't change one bit post-acquisition.

  17. 1

    Congrats! I just discovered this site so I am totally new but so far I am really impressed. I will be digging into these forms and asking some of my own questions.

  18. 1

    Wow, i'm quite new here but this is huge :) Please dont change too much!

  19. 1

    Great news! Makes sense! Congrats X

  20. 1

    Well done!

  21. 1

    Congrats! Was not expecting this.

  22. 1

    Wow, this is a perfect marriage! Congrats!!

  23. 1

    Well done Courtland!

  24. 1

    Congrats @csallen! Åke (Statbot)

  25. 1

    Congrats Courtland! Is really exciting news and I'm super happy for you that you'll get to continue doing what you love and hopefully work full time on making this place awesome. I hope they made you a really good offer!

  26. 1

    Awesome news Courtland. Very happy for IH community to join forces with Amazing Stripe.

  27. 1

    Whoops! I think IH acquisition is too early and it's in contrast with the "Indie" soul itself!...

    However, I know very well about your monetization struggless, I've been here since the beginning.

    I very love this site and congrats you guys. My best wishes with IH.

  28. 1

    Wow! Well done Courtland.

  29. 1

    Congrats again Courtland! This has been my favorite site for the past year and I'm happy you don't have to worry anymore about advertising or monetization struggles. Keep pushing the bootstrap revolution <3

  30. 1

    Wow this is so amazing. I have seen it grow from ground zero. Kudos for achieving this much in such short time :)

  31. 1

    Congratulations! Really happy for you and will be waiting to see more from you.

  32. 1

    Congrats man!

  33. 1

    Congrats! Great work man!

  34. 1

    WOW! This is great! Indiehackers and Atlas should make a great match. I even think Stripe.com and indiehackers.com have a similar design aesthetic which I'm sure influenced Patrick's decision! 😁👍

  35. 1

    Clearly a win-win acquisition. Congrats!

  36. 1

    Major congrats, hope the site will stay the same and maintain the philosophy

  37. 1

    Wow, I didn't see this one coming... Well done! 🎉

  38. 1

    Wow, congrats! You've made a great site and service. Much deserved!

  39. 1

    Congrats dude! Love this platform.

  40. 1

    Whoa! That's surprising, but it makes a lot of sense actually. I'm a proud Stripe customer w/ Complice, and I'm excited to see what comes next :)

  41. 1

    What absolutely fantastic news for all involved. IH has done a great job of spreading that knowledge base across the entrepreneur community and it is a place of respect and quality. This is great news for Stripe and to pair up these companies is nothing short of brilliant.

  42. 1

    Congrats Courtland! Hopefully this site will go from strength to strength, and I expect your knowledge from IH will be a boon for the Atlas team.

  43. 1

    Congrats mate! well done

  44. 1

    So awesome! Congrats @csallen

  45. 1

    This is really awesome to hear, well deserved! I hope it stays bootstrap/indie themed (I imagine it would be, seeing as it's in the name haha). I couldn't care less about startups personally.

  46. 1

    Congrats! Please keep indiehackers indie!

  47. 1

    Fantastic news! My question: did you always look for an acqu-exit?

    1. 3

      Nope!

      We spent a good while exploring ways to monetize the site, but none of the options included seeking an acquisition or even seeking funding.

      So it was just as much of a surprise to us as it might be to you when Patrick emailed Courtland about his interest in acquiring us.

  48. 1

    Congrats @csallen!

  49. 1

    Congrats! You've done a great job of building a sustainable business and vibrant community, looking forward to seeing what happens now that you can focus exclusively on the content/community side of things.

  50. 1

    Congratulations! Amazing that in not even one year you grew this project to be that successful!

  51. 1

    Fantastic news, Courtland, congratulations! I am excited to see what IH will become now that you can dedicate all the time in the world to it :-)

  52. 1

    This is huge! Congrats!!!

  53. 1

    Congrats!

  54. 1

    Congrats, Courtland! way to go!

  55. 1

    Congratulations @csallen! Legitimately excited for this partnership. Think it'll only bring amazing things to this already awesome community that you've built.

  56. 1

    Congratulations, Courtland! This is a savvy investment by Stripe and a great "exit" for you. Best of luck continuing to develop the IH community. Excited to be a part of it.

  57. 1

    Congrats! I remember when I first found this site. I continue to use it to inspire me every day. Keep up the great work!

  58. 1

    Congrats @csallen! I'm excited about whats to come for Indiehackers :)

    1. 1

      I remember your forum post about improving monatization a couple of weeks ago. I don't think anyone was thinking about an aquisition as a solution but here we are. Well done.

      1. 2

        Believe it or not, Schweigi, we weren't thinking about an acquisition as a solution back then either!

  59. 1

    Super exciting! And congrats! Will be fun to see Indie Hackers content being prompted by Stripe. What other synergys do you see?

  60. 1

    Congrats to @csallen and Stripe!

  61. 1

    Congratulations on the acquisition! What do you think was the one thing that made you stand out to Stripe?

    1. 4

      Hey Ophidian! Patrick probably explains Stripe's reasoning a little better than we could: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14090313

  62. 1

    This comment was deleted 2 years ago.

  63. 1

    This comment was deleted a year ago.