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Refind by Dominik Grolimund
"Refind started as a passion project. After three startups, I wanted to get back to coding and to work on a problem I’m passionate about."
Learn the secrets of successful newsletters with Newsletter Circle!
👉 Every Sunday, you will read an exclusive interview with a successful newsletter creator and learn how to start, grow and monetize your newsletter.
In today’s issue, we’re welcoming , reaching an impressive 250,000+ subscribers every day!
Refind is far more than just a newsletter.
It is an advanced algorithm that analyzes thousands of articles spanning over 100 topics. Based on each subscriber's interests, it delivers only the most relevant content—pretty cool, right?
But wait, there’s more.
Refind isn't just a valuable resource for lifelong learners; it's also a unique platform for newsletter creators looking to grow on autopilot. We'll delve into the Conversion Ads feature, which I personally find quite useful to grow Newsletter Circle as well.
Here is our conversation with Dominik Grolimund, the founder of Refind. Expect concise answers that get straight to the point.
🏷 NEWSLETTER IDENTITY CARD
🛠 Tool Stack
ESP → Amazon SES
Curation → Algorithm
Website → Web app hosted on Heroku
Team Communication → Slack
Design → In-house
Growth → In-house
Payment → Stripe
👋 MEET THE CREATOR
Welcome Dominik. Let’s start with getting to know you.
I studied computer science at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and founded, built, and sold three startups.
Refind is my fourth company – it started as a passion project that turned into a business. Currently, I’m living in Bali with my wife and my four kids.
What is Refind all about?
Brain food, delivered daily. Every day we analyze thousands of articles and send you only the best, tailored to your interests.
Why and how did you decide to start Refind in the first place?
Refind started as a passion project. After three startups, I wanted to get back to coding and to work on a problem I’m passionate about.
It started with the algorithm – the newsletter came (much) later.
How did you gain your first 1000 subscribers?
Initially, I built Refind for myself but of course, I wanted to see if others find it interesting too, so I invited my friends to a closed beta, and they invited theirs… After some time in closed beta, I launched on Product Hunt.
Which growth strategies do you mainly use?
Today we use Referrals + paid.
Paid is the most effective one – if unit economics work out, it’s one of the easiest ways to scale.
Regarding growth efforts, what would you do differently if you had a chance to start over?
Start with paid growth earlier.
Do you track your unsubscribe rate?
Retention is our main focus so we closely look at engagement over time (i.e., if people perform key actions, including link opens) and tend to ignore secondary effects like open or unsubscribe rates.
How do you make money with your newsletter?
Ads + Premium.
Let’s talk about “Conversion Ads”. How did you build it? How does it work?
Conversion Ads are designed to help other newsletters grow at a fixed CPA – something we always wanted to exist. The way it works is simple:
We recommend your newsletter in our daily newsletter (250k subs).
People can subscribe to your newsletter directly from within Refind.
We automatically send subscribers to the newsletter via API. They can start sending their first email immediately.
All you need to do is to enter your newsletter URL, your CPA (e.g., $1.5), and your daily budget, and you’ll grow with us on auto-pilot.
📩 E-MAIL SERVICE PROVIDER
Which ESP do you use you?
We render all email on our servers (since every email is personalized) and use Amazon SES to send them.
🧩 SYSTEM & PRODUCTIVITY
What is your key weekly task for running Refind?
Still mostly coding, improving the product and the algorithm.
What is next on Refind’s journey?
Our goal is to reach millions of active users.
Thank you so much, Dominik. I’m sure we’ll see you reaching millions. Good luck!
🔗 Where to find Dominik Grolimund and his work
That’s all for today. Thanks for reading.
See you next week.
📌 P.S. I’ve switched from Substack over to Beehiiv (here). But don’t worry; you don’t need to do anything; I will manually add you to my Beehiiv list if you subscribe here. This is just for you to know :)
And don’t worry; you will receive the new issues only from “cilerdemiralp.beehiiv.com”, no duplications.