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Building an AI Carousel Maker as First-Time Founders 🥴

· 4 min read

My co-founder Seerat and I started PostNitro earlier this year as a bootstrap project to scratch our itch. As digital marketers by trade, we struggled to create well-designed, optimized carousel content that resonated across social channels.

Could AI solve this creative challenge? 🤔

Neither of us had experience building SaaS products or working with artificial intelligence. But we dove in headfirst to turn this seed of an idea into a viable business.

Here's what we've learned so far from crafting a profitable AI platform as first-timers:

Coming Up With the Idea

We initially jotted down dozens of speculative ideas for useful AI tools. Social media caught our attention since it represented a considerable market struggling with time-consuming content creation.

When we researched pain points, one stood out - marketers universally find visually engaging carousels challenging to produce at scale. Yet, when done right, they generate phenomenal engagement.

We realized AI could automate the most labor-intensive parts like ideation, copywriting, and graphic design. And provide customization for branded results.

Similar carousel-focused AI solutions existed but were complex or needed more simplicity for non-designers!

Building the MVP

With Market-Solution Fit confirmed, we proposed an MVP featuring AI content generation and basic branding/downloading.

I handled product management duties while Seerat developed the backend technology. We tapped technical friends with AI/ML expertise as sounding boards.

We could dedicate up to 5 hours a week initially while working full-time. So we practiced ruthless prioritization, only building essential features.

We focused manically on speed, launching a bug-ridden but usable beta in just 3.5 months for early user testing. Their feedback guided development, saving us from wandering down dead ends.

Marketing Experiments

With no marketing budget, we had to get creative. Here were our most effective tactics:

  • Optimized Cold Outreach: We targeted potential customers via personalized emails and nudged connections for intros, securing 100 beta users quickly, including some recognizable brands.
  • Content Creation: We published tutorial videos and blog posts demonstrating use cases to attract organic search traffic and social shares. These also served as fodder for outreach.
  • Twitter Conversations: We proactively engaged our target audience by searching relevant hashtags and keywords and providing value. Dozens have turned into engaged users.
  • Strategic Seed Users: We activated multi-channel collaborations with influencer creators/brands by providing exclusive early access. In return, they've created social buzz through carousel post samples.

The results? Over 2,000 users have been onboarded, with customers ranging from marketing giants to solopreneurs—a bootstrapped campaign around value-driven relationships.

Monetizing & Next Steps

We plan to monetize through monthly and annual subscriptions with free and paid tiers tailored to different business types. Several larger customers already use PostNitro daily and have expressed eagerness to upgrade once paid plans launch.

For now, we remain heads-down, expanding the product capabilities.

It's been immensely challenging yet fulfilling steering this AI-driven startup thus far, wearing all hats. We still have an infinitely long road ahead. But by iterating continuously based on user behaviors, we're confident that PostNitro's carousel automation fills a genuine need.

I would love to hear about other founders' experiences launching AI products! What worked? What didn't? Questions are also welcome. 😁

Muneeb Awan

About Muneeb Awan

Co-Founder & CEO

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