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Product Hunt grows up, nabs its first million and releases an app

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Early stage startup Product Hunt, an application that acts like a Reddit for products, announced Thursday that it has raised its first $1 million and released its first mobile app. The investors throwing their weight behind the site read like a star-studded cast of the early stage tech world — the list is long but betaworks, Google Ventures, CrunchFund, Greylock Discovery Fund, Naval Ravikant, A-Grade Investments (Ashton Kutcher’s fund), and Nir Eyal are on it.

If you’re not entrenched in the San Francisco tech scene you might not have heard of Product Hunt. At first glance, it doesn’t look to be anything special. It’s like a Reddit for products, where people post their favorite new apps and gadgets with a one line summary, and other readers can upvote or downvote them and comment.

But in the early stage funding world, Product Hunt has shot to prominence in the last six months. Its simple user interface — and even simpler premise — has attracted investors, founders, and press alike. It’s a feeding ground for the latest new startup, which frequently makes it onto Product Hunt before tech media has even gotten wind of it. VCs source seed stage deals through PH, tech press look for stories, and founders use it to get the word out about their new product. The democratic nature of the platform helps those who might otherwise struggle to get noticed without the right professional connections.

Product Hunt just graduated from the Y Combinator accelerator, and with fresh cash reserves in his pocket founder Ryan Hoover has big dreams for the company. He’s hoping to eventually move beyond the tech and startup demographic and turn the site into a product discovery tool for a whole swath of verticals. He’s hoping that someday, everyone from midwestern scrapbookers to Manhattan fashionistas to Portland hipsters to hardcore gamers will surf Product Hunt for the latest finds in the categories they care about.