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Hack To Start
Episode 151

Nathan Bashaw

Founder of @Hardbound. Building a new form of reading.

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Nathan Bashaw is the Co-founder & CEO of Hardbound. After discovering the world of startups during college, and driven by the desire to build things and implement his own ideas, Nathan became a self-taught developer. He knew pretty early on, that he wanted to leverage technology to create new forms of education and storytelling that was native to new devices like smartphones. After joining Olark as an intern and then working in San Francisco as a full time developer, Nathan decided to pursue his own project - Scratchpad. It was later acquired by General Assembly, where Nathan worked as a Product Manager. While in San Francisco, Nathan met Ryan Hoover and helped him create the first version of what would become Product Hunt. Nathan then decided to focus on pursuing his vision for what would become Hardbound. He and the team recently completed the Techstars Boulder program, raised some funding, and have released a completely new version of the app. Nathan joins us to share his story, some of the biggest challenges he faced in becoming a Product Manager, why he’s so passionate about new forms of education and storytelling, what it’s been like building Hardbound, some of the biggest challenges they had to overcome, what it’s like raising money, what it was like going through Techstars in Boulder, and much more.

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about how Nathan got into tech and startups
  • Learn more about the challenges of becoming a Product Manager
  • Learn more about what it's been like building Hardbound
  • Learn more about the challenges of raising money
  • And more!

Episode Overview

Nathan Bashaw is the Co-founder & CEO of Hardbound.

After discovering the world of startups during college, and driven by the desire to build things and implement his own ideas, Nathan became a self-taught developer. He knew pretty early on, that he wanted to leverage technology to create new forms of education and storytelling that was native to new devices like smartphones.

After joining Olark as an intern and then working in San Francisco as a full time developer, Nathan decided to pursue his own project - Scratchpad. It was later acquired by General Assembly, where Nathan worked as a Product Manager.

While in San Francisco, Nathan met Ryan Hoover and helped him create the first version of what would become Product Hunt.

Nathan then decided to focus on pursuing his vision for what would become Hardbound. He and the team recently completed the Techstars Boulder program, raised some funding, and have released a completely new version of the app.

Nathan joins us to share his story, some of the biggest challenges he faced in becoming a Product Manager, why he’s so passionate about new forms of education and storytelling, what it’s been like building Hardbound, some of the biggest challenges they had to overcome, what it’s like raising money, what it was like going through Techstars in Boulder, and much more.


Some Of The Questions We Ask

2:25
Where are you from and what did you study?

7:37
How did you transition from media and radio production into tech and entrepreneurship develop?

10:42
You were employee #2 at Olark live chat. What was it like joining the team there and what were some of the biggest lessons you learnt from that experience?

13:36
One of your first startups was Scratchpad.io (which was later acquired by General Assembly). Can you tell us what motivated you to create scratchpad and what it was like getting acquired?

18:54
Can you share more about General Assembly and what it was like to be a Product Manager there? What were some of the projects you had a chance to work on?

24:02
You also had an instrumental role in helping to build and shape Product Hunt. I know you’ve written about it on Medium (and we’ll link to that), but can you tell us more about what that experience was like and some of the biggest lessons or impacts to come out of that project?

27:37
Today, you’re the Co-founder & CEO of Hardbound, an amazing iOS app that’s re-imagining how people read and consume written content on mobile devices. Can you tell us a bit more about Hardbound and what motivated you to launch that? What was it about the space that had you so interested in creating a product like Hardbound?

34:48
Hardbound had several different betas and relied on it’s early community of users for product feedback. How did you approach creating this early community of readers?

39:11
Hardbound has raised some funding from VCs like Full Tilt Capital and recently completed Techstars. What advice do you have for other founders looking to raise funding or get into accelerator programs?

42:37
What was it like being in Techstars? What was it like going through that process with a fairly well-developed idea and product?

53:48
Do you have any last thoughts or personal mottos that you live by that you think others should know about?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Nathan Bashaw on Twitter
Nathan Bashaw on Medium
Hardbound on Twitter
Hardbound on the web
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

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