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Starting a professional networking platform for entrepreneurs

Meet Natalia Cebotari.

Natalia was born and raised in a tiny country called Moldova. You better look it up 😄 

Currently her focus is on Osmos. A professional networking platform for entrepreneurs.

Enjoy her story.

Natalia Cebotari

The story told by Natalia

I'm 40, and I've worn many hats in the tech world — founder, top dog, you name it.

For the past ten years, I've been all about EdTech. I’ve published digital media on EdTech with a cool 70K readers and hosted two international conferences with 80K visitors. My hands have been in a bunch of EdTech projects, building them from the ground up to reach millions of users.

Right now, over 40K schools are using my digital textbooks. I used to be the Chief Strategy Officer at Yandex, one of the world's six search engines, and I developed the strategy for VK, the largest European social network.

All these adventures have brought me to the product I'm working on now.

Osmos is a professional networking platform for entrepreneurs. We match professionals based on their business needs. With Osmos, you can instantly find relevant connections and receive the help you need on your business journey.

Osmos homepage

How Osmos works

We started building the product just about a year ago. The first version went live back in September 2023. From then it took us around a month to get to the first 100 users.

Currently we have 5,000 users.

We did have some struggle in terms of marketing the product. Starting a new social platform is incredibly challenging, even with my experience in social and networking products. We kicked things off without a marketing budget, just bootstrapping our way through.

We got our first 1,000 users from various sources / tactics:

  1. Previous networks, friends, and colleagues
    I am fortunate to have a wide network, personally knowing more than 10,000 people due to my previous endeavors. Acquiring the first 100 users through my connections was not a challenge.

    However, the issue lies in the fact that these connections are spread across various European countries, whereas Osmos is primarily targeted towards US users.

  2. Online conferences and events
    We bought tickets for TechCrunch online and stumbled upon a bunch of other free tech industry gigs, like the one Product University threw.

    These events are great for making connections. We made the most of it, chatting up the right folks, pitching our idea, and guess what? They were eager to try it.

  3. Partnerships
    We hit up some top-tier universities like Yale, Princeton, and Berkeley. Found out their business clubs were keen on collaboration and making deeper connections among members. But despite our efforts, we only ended up with less than 10 new users.

  4. Directories
    We applied to several directories, and notably, we gained more than 100 users from Betalist.

  5. Inspiration for designers
    Design is a big deal for us, and it's definitely been worth the effort. Without any action on our part, Framer editors selected us as one of the best new landings of the month. See the selection here

    Subsequently, we were featured as design inspiration at Curated.design

Finally I can tell that I've had an X account for 15 years, but I never really got into it. Lately, though, seeing more of our customers there, I'm giving it more attention. Managed to pick up 60 new followers last week, yay!

Learn more about Natalia and Osmos