20VC: The Chess.com Memo: The Most Untold Story in Startups; Scaling to $100M Revenue, 150M Members and 700 People, All with Zero Venture Funding | Erik Allebest, CEO @ Chess.com

Posted on 7th February 2024 by Harry

Erik Allebest is the CEO @ Chess.com, the #1 online chess service on the planet with more than 150+ million members and 15+ million games played each day. Erik has scaled the company to over 700 people and $100M+ in revenue with no venture funding.

In Today’s Episode with Erik Allebest:

1. From Unemployable to $100M+ Revenue Founder:

  • How did Erik make his way into the world of tech and startups?
  • Was his MBA worth it? How does he advise others on whether to get one or not?
  • What does Erik know now that he wishes he had known when he started?

2. Scaling to $100M Revenue with No Venture Funding:

  • Why did no one want to invest in Chess.com in the early days?
  • What did Erik do differently as a result of not raising any venture funding?
  • What would Erik have done if he had money from the start?
  • What are Erik’s biggest pieces of advice to founders with funding today?

3. Hard Lessons Scaling to 150M Members:

  • What are 1-2 of Erik’s biggest lessons on how to scale users with zero budget?
  • What customer acquisition worked? What did not work?
  • How important was COVID and The Queen’s Gambit to memberships and sign-ups?
  • What are the single biggest mistakes Erik sees founders make on customer acquisition today?

4. Parenting, Marriage, Metrics and Money:

  • Why does Erik not care about money or capitalism today?
  • How has Erik’s style of parenting changed over the years? What works? What does not?
  • What does Erik believe is the secret to marriage? What have been his biggest lessons?
  • Why does Erik hate metrics? If so, how does he run the business towards goals and output?

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