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Entrepreneur|September 2021
To build a modern intranet platform, Haystack cofounder Cameron Lindsay needed users to share their criticisms. But at first, they wouldn’t. Here’s why.
LIZ BRODY

The idea for Haystack came swift and easy. A way to build Haystack took more work.

Cameron Lindsay, 27, was sitting at his last job in 2018 when he noticed that 99 percent of Fortune 500s have intranet products—and 99 percent of people who use them hate them. In those two 99s, he saw 100 percent opportunity. The incumbents making these internal corporate communications systems were “all older-school,” he says. “Employees today want it super fast, super connected, and delightful.” He teamed up with cofounder Haibo Zhao, a former tech lead at Google and Snap, to reimagine a sleek, nimble sports car of an intranet.

Building it would be like planning a subway system for a city you’ve never visited—so they realized they’d need an innovative approach. They nailed it: When they announced their official launch this March, they did so with $8.2 million in venture backing and NerdWallet and Chime as clients. Here’s how.

1/ Find a pilot company.

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