Nikki Durkin, Founder of CodeMakers and Former founder of 99dresses is one of our fellow HotDesQers alumni. Nikki handles being a single founder with an impressive organization system, and has shared a great deal of experience with the team at Equal Reality.
Nikki is passionate about building great products and businesses. There’s nothing she loves more than having an idea and iteratively building it, moulding it like clay until its something that users go crazy for.
When she was 15 she started a successful ebay store with her younger brother selling t-shirts that she’d get printed and dropshipped from China. That’s when she fell in love this whole ‘entrepreneurship’ thing.
Nikki made more money from that business than she knew what to do with as a 16 year old, so she spent most of it on clothes. Hence, at 18 Nikki started 99dresses: an app that allowed women to trade fashion with each other using a virtual currency. She was naive and had no idea what she was doing, but took on the challenge. Within 3 months of launching in Australia, and with no marketing budget, nearly 6000 items had been traded on 99dresses.
After being accepted into Y Combinator, raised money from some awesome investors, and moved to New York to launch 99dresses in the US market before she was even old enough to legally drink over there. We experienced great growth in the US market (especially considering our limited funding compared to our competitors), reaching 1000 transactions/week within 2 months of launching on a very limited budget.
Unfortunately the whole thing imploded when Nikki couldn’t raise that extra round of funding, and she shut down the company. Nikki failed incredibly publicly: after publishing the story of her roller coaster ride on Medium, it was read over 250k times in 48 hours and translated into multiple languages as it spread around the world.
Nikki is now living back in Australia, and the proud founder of CodeMakers. Its absolutely inevitable that in the next 5-10 years that kids will be learning to code as an extra-curricular hobby just like they do with soccer, dance and violin. CodeMakers is building an online coding school for kids, where they can attend live weekly group lessons via video conference to discover and develop their passion for code.