Recruiting Users for Research & Testing

Recruiting users is one of the main areas that spook our boot camp participants when they begin thinking about Problem Validation. There are several ways to go about finding people to participate in research but first you as a venture team need to clarify who the users are that you need to target. What problem are you trying to address? Who experiences that problem? How old are they? What demographic characteristics are typical of the user base? Often times using social media or boards like Craigslist or Kijiji are inexpensive ways to recruit participants however, you may not reach the users that will provide the most value for your testing. Typically test subjects are offered an incentive of around $20- $50 for their time. If you have a bigger budget and a specific user group, or a very short time frame for testing, then using a recruiting service can be a good way of finding lots of users quickly. These services also vet users to ensure they comply with the demographic and behavioural characteristics that you need.


Recruiting users can begin as early as day one. Whether you find people on the street, online or at specific events or locations you should keep on looking for them throughout your process and continue circling back to engaged participants as you iterate. This will help keep you connected to the user experience of both your problem and solution and potentially connect you to networks that serve those experiencing the pain you are trying to solve.


Without users you're going to have a lot of trouble validating that your problem is meaningful, that your solution is desirable and that you can get anyone to pay for your end product or service. Users are the key to executing Lean Start Up and Design Thinking as a means of building a successful venture.

Supplies & Resources

Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin can be great places to start your search for users. If you're targeting a wider population than Craigslist or Kijiji may be useful as well.  You should expect to offer test subjects an incentive of around $20- $50 for their participation.

If you're having trouble or need to find lots of users fast than there are a number of services that will recruit users for you. Some examples are:, User Interviews, Userlove and