4 minutes

Startup Founder Daily is now StartupStage

Picture of Luke Versweyveld
Luke Versweyveld
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We’ve grown a lot in 2023. As we grew, we felt that the name “Startup Founder Daily” no longer captured who we are and where we’re headed.

In this post, I’ll get into the origin of the original name and more details about why we’re rebranding, but here’s a TL;DR –

Why StartupStage? The name works on two levels:

  • Your startup, our stage. We are a platform to showcase your startup and get eyes on what you’re building

  • Stage = Competition. The name highlights the competitive nature of our voting platform. Startups compete for features across our platforms

A huge thanks to all of you who have been with us from the beginning. For those of you who have recently joined our journey, here’s our origin story 👇️ 

I’m Luke, the Founder of StartupStage. I’m a startup lawyer based in Chicago.

The Origin Story

In January of 2022, I was looking for ways to get more plugged into the startup ecosystem. Twitter seemed like a good place to begin, so I started a little account giving shoutouts to founders. It was a fun way to meet new people and learn about the next great companies being built.

This seemed to resonate with the community, and the account began to grow. I realized it could be more than a solo Twitter account, so I built out a company around it. I brought my Brother-in-Law, Henry Allen, on board to help me expand to other platforms.

Back then, I envisioned the company as a “Humans of New York” for startup founders, telling the stories of the founders behind up-and-coming companies. The “Daily” in Startup Founder Daily was supposed to be reminiscent of the classic newspaper company.

We continued to share stories about new companies and the founders behind them. As we listened to feedback from our audience, the focus of our features became more startup-focused than founder-focused. (I still think a “Humans of New York” for Founders would be cool – someone please build this!)

For the next 12 months, we featured 3 companies per week across our blog, socials, and newsletter. Founders would submit their information, and once a week I would sit down and pick my favorite companies to feature.

The Voting System

In February of 2023, I came up with an idea to get the community more involved in the selection process. I pictured a platform where the startup community could vote on their favorite companies, which we would then feature across our platforms. Plus, I hoped the gamification added that boost of virality to take us to the next level.

I am extremely non-technical. Lawyers are about the farthest thing from developers. Still, I set about building a rough MVP of the voting platform. It was a simple “update live item” Zapier automation through our Webflow site.

I was hoping to get a few dozen votes that first week. We ended up getting over 500. I had to upgrade my Zapier account to handle the tasks.

But there were a lot of issues with the rudimentary system: It looked terrible. We couldn’t screen for fake or duplicate email addresses. We even had some people vote with celebrity email addresses. I think Brad Pitt has better things to do than vote on our platform.

Nevertheless, I saw a lot of potential in the voting platform. After three weeks, I considered the idea sufficiently validated, found a dev shop, and began building the platform. On June 26th, we officially launched our first cohort.

We’re full steam ahead on this new approach, but started to feel we had outgrown our old name. There was nothing “Daily” about what we are doing, and the emphasis has shifted to the companies themselves rather than the founders.

So after much deliberation, we are now StartupStage. New name, same mission to increase access to startup PR and put a spotlight on the next unicorn companies.

We have big plans, and hope you’ll be along for the ride.

– Luke

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