🔥 Crunch #29: Shopify for Creators and Superfans, Reddit Marketing Tools, Shared Virtual Cards, Short Voice Stories

Bite-sized startup insights trusted by the industry leaders

🇺🇸 islands: Gives creators the power to have a community of superfans with paid memberships. (Founded 2021, Total Funding Amount: undisclosed seed round)

Superfans want a more 1-on-1 experience with their favorite creators. They're also willing to pay extra for the interactions.

How it works: Creators set up a paid (or free) community with paid subscriptions for their superfans.

Island strives to become the Shopify for creators that connects creators with their superfans.

Team: Based in San Fransisco, 2 co-founders — Nikhil Srinivasa and TZ (Tiffany Zhong)

The backstory: “Our team has previously worked at companies such as Product Hunt, Coinbase, Tinder, and more.

Creators don’t always have the right tools available to make the leap from upstart to mogul. So we’ve decided to make it our mission to empower every creator to build their empire from the ground up.” — Founder, TZ (Tiffany Zhong)

Why it’s worth checking out: Tiffany’s working with some of the biggest celebrities in the world. Will she and the team succeed?


🇲🇰 Howitzer: Targeted cold emails, but for Reddit. Howitzer is the first direct marketing tool for Reddit. (Founded March 2021, Total Funding Amount: bootstrapped)

Reddit is a large platform, with over 430 million monthly active users. If there’s a niche, chances are, it exists on Reddit. And every marketing and sales team wants access to it.

Team: Based in Skopje, Macedonia, 3 co-founders — Nikola Velkovski, Tomi Jurukovski, and Stefan Kotevski

How it works: Find potential customers in your niche, direct message Redditors, and monitor popular keywords or Subreddits.

It’s made for entrepreneurs, startups, and growth hackers who know their target audience.

The backstory: “Reddit Ads are obsolete since more than 80% of Reddit users use AdBlocker. We've created Howitzer because we wanted to successfully advertise on Reddit.” — Co-founder, Nikola Velkovsk

Why it’s worth checking out: Strong market adaption and growth. Word of mouth effect — I heard about Howitzer from a Telegram group chat.


🇺🇸 Slash: Virtual cards that you and up to 10 friends co-own. Save money on subscriptions, and save time by auto-splitting expenses with roommates. (Founded 2021, Total Funding Amount: undisclosed)

Team: Based in San Fransisco, 2 co-founders — Victor Cardenas and Kevin Bai

How it works: Users issue joint virtual cards that they co-own with friends. Card owners share the transaction accordingly.

This method of sharing cards allows users to cut down on costs. For instance, users spend a fraction of what they otherwise would on subscriptions.

The backstory: “We started Slash as an answer to the ridiculous number of streaming, music, news, and other subscription services that have popped up, each offering their silos of exclusive content.”

Why it’s worth checking out: Product of the day, and for a good reason. They have a beautiful product design.

Also, with the rise of subscription-based services, more people will start to look for similar solutions like Slush to split the bills and save money.


🇺🇸 Gossip: Create and share short audio stories. (Founded 2021, Total Funding Amount: ~$200k angel round)

Team: Based in San Fransisco, and the founder is Gleb Braverman.

How it works: Users browse a feed of stories. The stories and replies are 30 seconds short. The stories expire after 24 hours.

The backstory: “Our mission at Gossip is to give people a fast, fun, and engaging way to share their stories, ideas, and emotions through voice.” — Founder, Gleb Braverman

Why it’s worth checking out: Podcasts and social audio apps like Clubhouse or Twitter spaces are hot right now. The Gossip app fits right into the audio social media space.

Audio format is on the rise since it carries a lot of energy, emotions, and tone. All those hard to convey via text.

Funnily enough, text and literature are human inventions, while verbal sounds and cues were there at the beginning of time.


🦾 Appetite for the extra crunch? Join the Members Club!

Each Tuesday and Friday, I send out a well-researched, short email packed with exciting early-stage startups. Save 100+ hours of market research and source attractive startups with 5-minute reports.

To be part of the pro members reading list, I’ll be charging $25 a month, or $200 per year. That’s the equivalent of an annual sushi dinner in New York City.

✅ Access all the future articles by becoming a member.

When you decide you’re ready to receive more stories — you can always subscribe at startupscrushing.com/subscribe.

Become a pro member now

Leaning on a maybe? Try the 7-day free trial. The free trial will provide you with 7 days of the free subscription. Cancel any time. No commitment is required. No tricks or strings attached. My goal is to provide you with some of the best content available on the web.


🏁 What is Startups Crushing It?

Startups Crushing It! is a newsletter about early-stage (before series A) technology startups. I publish the insights each Tuesday and Friday.

I devote a big chunk of time to researching and testing various products. I do this so I can bring you the most promising startups. I have no affiliation with any of the startups mentioned above.

I look for strong positive signals using the FPTM model: Founders — Product — Traction — Mission.

I interview the founder(s), toy around with products, crunch numbers, and based on that, I decide which startups to feature.

If you want more, you can dig through the archives for the previous digests.

Support me by forwarding it to a friend, and let them know they can subscribe here.


🚀 Submit Your Startup

I’m always open to working with all types of founders, no matter their ethnicity, gender, origin, or socio-economic background.

Please fill in this form if you want me to review your startup and product. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn as well.

As a rule of thumb, I look at startups who have at least built a minimal viable product.

I look for strong positive signals using the FPTM model: Founders — Product — Traction — Mission.