The Founder Hotline

Quick pitch:

Having early stage founder struggles? Call 1-888-890-2656 toll-free to talk about anything — that’s right — anything, with experienced builders and founders who were in your exact shoes just a few years ago. Website: https://thefounderhotline.com/



When I was at Day One, our CMO Jake came to me with a unique challenge. He wanted to brainstorm ideas on how best to create marketing without spending $100 in ad budget.

First-time founders were one of the main customer personas at Day One. Yet this is a highly contested space to acquire customers from given how many programs and brands target this persona. So we decided to create a project that added tremendous value to this specific persona in a novel way without spending more than $100 and yet create a ton of positive word of mouth and buzz in the industry.

What is the idea?

We created The Founder Hotline, a retro radio-style live call-in show. We bought a 1-888 toll free number (1-888-890-2656) and opened up access twice a week for an hour with me being the host. We were inspired by Frasier, the TV show and various dating advice hotlines.

In that hour, founders from anywhere in the world can call in (anonymously or with their real names) to share what they are struggling with in a safe and empathetic environment. Founders are encouraged to call in to ask questions "on air" that they would never ask in a fancy Fireside chat or surface the topics and personal struggles that they would never bring up in a video AMA.

The conversation was raw, real and relatable and many others tuned in just to listen and feel ‘seen’.

Why now?

In 2022, many founders were under tremendous stress (thanks to the markets, layoffs or general challenges of being an entrepreneur) This is an ecosystem-wide problem that we believed was worth giving a shit about.

Guest List:

I was the main host but I also brought in a hand-picked roster of founders and leaders who’ve seen difficult circumstances and were willing to help share lessons from their past:

Key Wins:

  • 1,200 people tuned in to listen to the 1st episode that also went live on Twitter Spaces
  • Launch tweet received a ton of positive reception
  • 149 upvotes and lots of positive replies on Product Hunt launch
  • 15,200 people tuned into Gary Vee’s episode
  • Helped us make nearly $25k in sales through this project
  • Helped us sign a partnership with OPENPHONE
  • Strengthened Day One’s brand internally within our community of Fellows and externally across the startup industry