How Instapainting went from $4,000 in debt to over $400,000 in revenue

There’s a great article on Indie Hackers about the creator of the website, a photo to painting service that launched in January of 2014. The founder came across the idea three years after going through the Y Combinator startup accelerator in Silicon Valley.

I did YC in Winter 2011 as a solo founder working on a social music site that was a clone of I was fresh out of a 6 month hiatus from college, which I’ve yet to go back and finish. (I’d only completed 3 semesters of a physics major.) I survived on the money I raised from YC and my various ideas and pivots for about 3 years.
Then I ran out of money.
Luckily, by this point I had already bgeen testing more and more random ideas that deviated from “social music”, and I had gotten pretty good at throwing up MVPs. I had a friend who bought paintings from China and sold them in the US, and she wanted me to build a website for her to sell art reproductions. Instead, I launched Instapainting in January 2014.
(Source –

Like most startup founders, Chris had to perserve, initially for years iterating and pivoting through business ideas before finding product market fit with Chris also illustrates how getting creative about marketing and generating initial buzz for a service can lead to very meaningful growth.

I think too often the entrepreneurial journey is portrayed as it is on Silicon Valley, you come up with an idea, an investor gives you a bunch of money and boom, you’re a successful founder. This is rarely the path an entrepreneur takes and Chris’s story is a great example of how it takes the right mindset and intense dedication to survive in the startup world.

So if you’ve been thinking about throwing in the towel with your own entrepreneurial pursuits, read Chris’s story and you might just find you’re still at the beginning of your own journey.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton