#005 Karthik Puvvada

Discover the products that KP uses to build products and manage his audience


Welcome to Maker Stacks, a new newsletter from the Product Hunt team where we interview a maker about their stack.

In today’s edition, we have serial founder and Build in Public icon Karthik Puvvada, otherwise known as KP.

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👋 I’m Karthik Puvvada, but a lot of folks call me KP. I’m a 5x founder, podcast host, angel investor, advisor, coach, and a leader of the "build in public" movement.

Currently, I’m leading Founder Relations at Paddle, helping to create and run founder-facing educational and community programs. Before that, I was the founder & CEO of Build In Public Fellowship, an online entrepreneurship program and community that served founders from 20+ countries across five cohorts.

I also co-founded 2 SaaS startups and built over 15 side hustles (with two exits). I’m also a part-time venture partner at Utopic Ventures, where I invest in scientists who have world-changing ideas.


KP’s Stack

How do tools like Tella, Riverside, and Hypefury enhance your workflow and output? Any standout features?

I love Riverside’s new AI transcription feature because it creates super accurate transcripts at the click of a button, including speaker detection. It’s so simple, and I love it. 

I’ve used Tella specifically on a few YouTube videos. The way you can share your screen and turn the final walk-through into a high-definition video for YouTube is amazing. I also used Tella for many course modules, and it works like a charm for that use case, too.

Riverside was introduced to me by Alexis Ohanian when I did an episode with him. He said I’d love it, and he was right. 

What I love about Riverside is just the insanely high-quality “studio-like” recording. Everything is saved in the cloud and you can export multiple layers of the recording (your view, the guest view, the gallery view, etc) to edit better. Riverside is just 10x better than Zoom for podcast recordings. 

You do a lot! Do you use any tools to stay accountable and productive?

I use Notion at a basic level to manage my projects and document what I have learned. I’m definitely not the super productive type. I got lucky because I accept my limitations and don’t worry about daily productivity. I am obsessed about my work and love it and try just to give it all in every day so most of my motivation is internal. I don’t need external accountability. I use pen and paper every day to make a list of my top 3 priorities and execute them. 

I use Savvy Cal and Cal.com for my calendar management.

How do you approach angel investing, particularly in early-stage startups, and what qualities do you look for in founders and their ideas?

I used to be more active but am currently taking a break from angel investing. However, I have been helping a handful of founders as an advisor lately. 

However, my criteria to start a great founder hasn’t changed much. Here’s what I look for: 

  1. A high agency, relentless, and low-ego founder (or founding team)

  2. A startup idea that is within the domain of the founder’s passion/experience (founder market fit)

  3. An earned insight about a problem in a specific market segment/niche

 Are there any standout learnings throughout your career that make you say, “I wish I knew this sooner”?

A couple learnings: 

  • Once a founder, always a founder. If things don’t work out, pivot or shut down. Don’t carry any shame around it, and trust that you’ll be back in the arena as a founder in some way or another. In my case, after shutting down my previous startup, I still get to be like a founder in my current role at Paddle, too. 

  • Build your startup or your career in public (this is obvious, eh?) Millions of other like-minded, good-hearted people worldwide are interconnected through the Internet and could help you. You need to be brave enough to be open and share your insights and desires in a give-first way so you can attract the right opportunities. I got my first Silicon Valley job this way. I found my 1st podcast guest this way, I got my first paying customers for a SaaS startup this way and much more. 

  • Be authentic and focus on carving your path by playing the long game. Don’t lose yourself in the chase for external things and milestones. Make sure you stay true to yourself, have fun in your experiments and be patient for outlier results to arrive. Great things take time. Have the heart for it. I built an audience of 50,000 followers on X (Twitter) from scratch, but it took me six years and 40,000 tweets. I'm on a similar journey with my podcast, newsletter, and other content channels. Time filters out the timid and uncommitted. Be committed.

If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring three pieces of tech, what would you take?

  • My iPhone

  • Starlink 

  • ChatGPT (hopefully after AGI is launched)