Bani Singh’s Journey From Building Side-Projects To Starting Her First Companyby@kateyedi
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5,750 reads

Bani Singh’s Journey From Building Side-Projects To Starting Her First Company

by Kate YediJune 16th, 2022
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Bani Singh is a 22-year-old Norwegian-American entrepreneur. She started WaitlistAPI at the age of 20 to help businesses add no-code waitlists on their websites prior to launching. She is now building a marketplace to build alternative to use Google Forms to support alternative forms of informal commerce. Waitlist API is a marketplace for people to use alternative formats like raffles, raffles and raffles to make more efficient use of Google Forms – and more efficient ways to sell items.
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This story is a look into the transformation of a promising entrepreneur as well as the technological and social changes she is trying to make. Growing up on the internet made Bani Singh naturally drawn to wanting to build. “Every year, we see new and exciting products that solve new problems. I remember the earliest days of the ‘delightful payments infrastructure’ as well as food delivery becoming mainstream. I knew that I similarly wanted to contribute to something greater than myself,” she says.

The world of entrepreneurship brings out incredible stories of grit and passion. For 22-year-old Bani Singh, that is not an exception. While growing up in the suburbs of Norway, the Indian-Norwegian teenager decided that she wanted to skip a year of Norwegian High School. “I was eager to explore the world and go deeper into some of my passions,” she said. She completed the full curriculum in just 2 years with a focus on STEM and enrolled at Minerva University in San Francisco at the age of 17.

Hackathons: The first exposure to building

Here, she would come to meet the world of entrepreneurship from a completely different angle. In her first month, she participated in her first hackathons, which is a 24-48 hour-long event where participants team up to create real-world solutions with code. Her first hackathon was one that she’ll never forget: “I didn’t know how to code web apps, but my team did. So I stayed up the whole time and tried to learn as much as I could by shadowing people. At the 16th hour, I was beyond tired, but the camaraderie in the team made the experience worthwhile.” This was one of many hackathons she would participate in over the course of her undergrad.

Building full-scale applications with crypto

During the summer of 2017, she was witnessing her first large crypto boom and wanted to be part of it. “I remember the excitement around crypto, its use cases and differentiated business model. A friend and I, who were similarly passionate about the space, teamed up to build a small application over the summer,” she recalls. The app was called Ethercup and allowed avid soccer fans to trade virtual football cards during the FIFA 2018 World Cup. Bani and her friend got a small grant from the 1517 Fund to get started and launched the application at the start of the world cup. “That was the first time I built a full-stack application from nothing and it was absolutely thrilling. I was hooked.”

From here, Bani continued building side projects actively. Many never saw the light of day, while others were introduced to friends and family for feedback and trials. She enjoyed the experience of transferring her ideas into the real world.

Her small breakthrough: WaitlistAPI

At the age of 20, Bani Singh launched an app on Product Hunt called WaitlistAPI to help businesses add no-code waitlists on their websites prior to launching. Today, the app has more than 4000 users and 1,1 million sign-ups across all waitlist forms. While the launch helped Bani understand the impact her work can have, it was not her first try at getting her products out to the masses. “This was my first experience with proper marketing and I learned something incredibly valuable throughout this experience: Just because you enjoy building doesn’t mean you can ignore the marketing,” she notes.

Continuing to build full-time and venture funding

After graduating from Minerva, the 22-year-old was deciding between two prestigious full-time offers at coveted companies. Ultimately, she decided to go full-time building apps. “I’m fortunate to be able to even choose this path and recognize how it’s not a given. Given that I had the chance, I felt the duty to contribute to the world directly. If I have the skills and enjoy it, why shouldn’t I?”.

After spending countless hours on the internet, Bani was naturally drawn to building something for an engaged community and ended up on Reddit, where there are many forms of informal commerce. While exploring various subreddits, she noticed how sellers would use Google Forms to buy and sell items. These communities would primarily use Google Forms to support alternative sale formats like auctions, raffles, group buys, and more. While speaking with users, she also realized the manual labor required to run sales on Google Forms – export to other apps like Shopify, manual entry of values for shipping labels, and more. Bani decided that she wanted to build infrastructure for these communities to better transact.

August 2021, she started building Limited, which is a marketplace to easily list items with alternative formats – raffles, group buys, and more. The product launched in November and has since gotten 5-figures of GMV, hundreds of purchases, and thousands of users. Their team also received institutional funding from Ludlow Ventures, the co-founders of Honey, and angel investors to further accelerate growth.

Limited landing page

While Bani looks back at many years of building small-scale applications, she’s excited to take her first big swing. “Ultimately, I enjoy building because of the impact that it can have. That was my favorite part of building WaitlistAPI. With a larger swing, I truly believe that the compounding impact will be larger and that makes me really excited,” the young founder concluded. The team is gearing up for growth and with the support of prominent investors, she’s looking ahead to a multi-decade-long journey of contributing to something greater.