Why Pre-Launch Startups Should Ditch Waitlists and What to Implement Instead

Waitlists are unreliable indicators of genuine user interest that provide inaccurate demand assumptions for your product.

Richie Crowley
5 min readApr 27, 2024

Celi is a networked social relationship manager that naturally nudges you into more frequent and meaningful connections with your most important people on their most important days.

But it hasn’t always been that.

Over the past year, I’ve conducted research, user interviews, and ran beta tests to refine our product and understand what Celi needed to be.

During this time, we consciously decided to omit creating a waitlist, a common approach for collecting interested users before launch.

Instead, we opted for a launchlist.

Our thesis was that launchlists are a more effective way to capture high-intent users and accelerate learning at launch.

The Waitlist Problem

While waitlists are a popular choice for pre-launch startups, they have a significant drawback: they prioritize conversions over capturing intent.

Waitlists often ask for the bare minimum information from an interested user to get a conversion.



Richie Crowley

Slowly building an audience by publishing original thoughts and ideas only when I have something of quality to say.