Michael Riley, Co-Founder, Boxter (Philadelphia)

Wounded Unicorns
2 min readMar 23, 2015


The Unicorn

Boxter is developing sustainable systems for growing web traffic and acquiring customers. It’s like a Hubspot/Marketo with better UX and a focus on modern growth hacking.

We have created four integrated systems and a suite of 6 apps all built 100% from scratch to help companies rise above the noise online.

We founded the company in early 2014. We saw a new opportunity emerge with the decline of results from SEO and social media. Companies need to find new ways to grow besides pay per click.

The Wound

We built an app that didn’t have a validated market. We based the app on several assumptions, and once we built it and tried to sell it we found out the problems were not valued enough to make it sustainable. The problems were too low level and decision makers didn’t see them as being worth paying for.

How to Restore the Unicorn’s Health

We talked with more potential customers and built apps in response to their feedback. We began targeting decision makers in companies, so we could get a real sense of what problems they would pay serious money to fix. We then started building apps based on validated market research and got paying customers along the way. We found that the more we talked to potential customers that the answers to what we should do next became more and more obvious.

How to Care for your Unicorn

I recommend reading “The Four Steps to the Epiphany” by Steve Blank and “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

Also, these resources are very helpful:



Wounded Unicorns

Short interviews with tech start-up founders about lessons learned.