How This A.I. Startup Got Its First 100 Paying Users

From building MVP to product launch strategy

Hey! - it's Brian.

What you'll learn in the next 4 minutes:

📈 How A.I. content generation startup Tribescaler went from idea to 100 paying users a month after launch:

Let's get to it!

About Tribescaler

Tribescaler is an A.I. content generation tool focused on crafting viral hooks for Twitter. Founded by Alex Banks and Alexander Leirvåg, the idea came about while Alex was trying to build an audience on Twitter.

When Alex set out to write a thread each day, he quickly understood the difficulty of producing content that generated high engagement, predictably and regularly.

As Paul Graham famously said, a great way to generate startup ideas is to look at the problems you already have and try to solve them.

[Interesting aside - Lenny Rachitsky's research into the origins of 50 big consumer brands showed that 30% came from founders trying to solve their own problem.]


Problem Statement

💡 How to create content that people genuinely want to share?

On Twitter, the first tweet of a thread (a sequence of tweets) is known as the "hook". It's typically the only part that a user sees in their feed. Whether they engage or not will be based largely on whether the hook gets them to stop scrolling and read on.

Alex quickly understood that great content without a great hook was dead on arrival:

Twitter Hooks

Alex teamed up with confounder Alexander, who was working on A.I. tech at the time. They began exploring ways that artificial intelligence might help solve this content production challenge.

Minimum Viable Product

They initially set out to tackle writing entire threads, but the complexity was overwhelming. So they decided to hone in on just the hook - which is often said to account for ~80% of a thread's success. Alex and Alexander set out to build the best tool for hook writing.

They spent several months iterating on the tech, training the models, etc. to solve their own problem. Once they had a hook generator that they felt was adequate, they began circulating it to their network.

Recruiting Beta Users

Having continued to write threads regularly, Alex's Twitter audience had scaled to many thousands by the time the MVP was ready for sharing. As a result, he had a large group of influencer peers to tap into. These creators had the same problem as him - how to create engaging content for Twitter. With the goodwill he'd created during his Twitter audience building, he had a natural audience of test users available.

Product Demos

Alex did 100 demos for 100 people. He would get on a video call and have someone test the MVP while on a screenshare, so Alex could watch how they interacted with the UI and what they tried to do.

Being present for these test runs allowed him to do a quick walk thru, see their immediate reaction and capture their immediate responses. The more intimate demos were likely more valuable than an async invite to test and provide written feedback.

Interpreting Feedback

As they compiled the feedback, some common themes began to emerge. Some feature ideas surfaced that they hadn't even considered, as well as potential personas that they might cater to down the line.

Alex and Alexander prioritized requests and problems with the app based on how many people were requesting or complaining about them. They divided ideas into urgent, important, unimportant, etc.

Watching users during the demos helped them identify 2 new insights that helped evolve the product:

💡 Users wanted a reference library of hooks by category, and the model should be trained on hooks according to category

💡 While hook generation was their initial value prop, hook refinement became a fundamental application they hadn't considered. Initially they built for the 0 to 1 of hook creation. But users can now input an "okay" hook and get suggestions to improve it.

Tribescaler Launch Strategy

Tribescaler's go-to-market strategy was obvious: launch on Twitter. They recruited influencers to commit to writing threads about the app, or including it in listicles.

Here's an example:

Tribescaler Viral Tweets

Affiliates: secondly, Tribescaler recruited affiliates - believers in the product who could benefit from Tribescaler's features. Their affiliate program allows partners to build recurring revenue.

LinkedIn: although Tribescaler's primary value prop is hook creation, great writing is also fundamental to success on LinkedIn. It's a huge platform where people want to learn and become better writers. So Tribescaler has invested in building out a page and platform there, educating users on the value of effective writing. From there they capture emails and bring potential customers into the marketing funnel. Their nurture campaigns are designed to help them see the value of endless content generation and the potential for virality.


Key to retention for Tribescaler has been building strong relationships with their users. They launched a Discord, where they can speak to customers and get immediate feedback on features, etc. It allows them to iterate on product feedback quickly and make users feel valued.

Launch Results - Month One

Tribescaler crushed their launch and landed 108 paying users by the end of month one.

Tribescaler Launch

Insights for Entrepreneurs from Tribescaler

We asked Alex what insights he would share from this experience, and he identified 2 traits that he thinks make a great entrepreneur:

🧠 Be a great storyteller - storytelling attracts talent, gets you deals, helps you influence others and ultimately sells your product.

💡 Be irrationally passionate about solving a problem - it has to be your #1 concern to fundamentally understand it, solve it and ensure the market derives tremendous value from it.

Growth Recommendations from Unicorn Growth Strategies

🦄 Press / Blog Outreach - with A.I. having replaced crypto as the "it" thing of the moment, there's a surge in A.I. curation across SEO and social channels. Reach out to writers, publishers and creators that cover the space and ask for inclusion in lists of new / top A.I. tools. Journalists need stories. This approach will produce organic traffic and backlinks.

🦄 Viral Newsjacking Campaigns - Build A.I content tools that have meme-ability. Elon is burning down Twitter, Trump is rambling on about losing the election (still). Tweethunter fills their marketing funnel by acquiring microsites like and Tribescaler could pursue a similar strategy.

🦄 Lifetime Deals - Selling lifetime deals via sites like AppSumo is a common way to get initial traction. Given the low marginal cost of a new user, Tribescaler could predictably support lifetime customers with a limited set of featured into perpetuity.