Asking The Founder Of Grammarly How He Built A $13 Billion Company

In a humorous turn of events, the article "Asking The Founder Of Grammarly How He Built A $13 Billion Company" takes readers on a wild ride through the journey of Max Lytvyn, co-founder and head of re...

In a humorous turn of events, the article “Asking The Founder Of Grammarly How He Built A $13 Billion Company” takes readers on a wild ride through the journey of Max Lytvyn, co-founder and head of revenue at Grammarly. From discussing the founding story of the company to highlighting its growth to a staggering $13 billion in revenue, this article covers it all. Not only does it touch on the decision to hire an outside CEO and the underestimation of Grammarly, but it also delves into the non-standard nature of the product and its impact on productivity and satisfaction. With a quirky tone and a wealth of information, this article will leave readers both entertained and enlightened.

The video by My First Million features an interview with Max Lytvyn, conducted by Sam Parr. They chat about various aspects of Grammarly’s journey, including Max’s engineering background, the skepticism that surrounded the product, and the breakthrough moment for the company. Max’s subtle confidence and the evolution of Grammarly beyond a mere Chrome plug-in make for a captivating discussion. From bootstrap beginnings to a multi-billion dollar valuation, this article reveals the incredible growth and success of Grammarly while keeping readers engaged and amused along the way.

Sam Parr (@theSamParr) sits down with Max Lytvyn (@Max_lytvyn), co-founder and head of revenue at Grammarly, to talk about the founding story of the company, how he grew it from 0 to $13B in revenue, why he decided to hire an outside CEO, and much more.

Show Notes:

(00:00) – Max’s background

(05:15) – Why people underestimate Grammarly

(12:00) – Grammarly’s breakthrough moment

(24:40) – Business ideas that go with Grammarly


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The Founding Story of Grammarly

Interview with Max Lytvyn

In a hilarious and informative interview, Max Lytvyn, co-founder and head of revenue at Grammarly, shares the founding story of the company and its impressive growth to $13 billion in revenue. Max’s witty and engaging personality shines through as he discusses the journey of building Grammarly from the ground up.

Company’s Growth to $13 Billion in Revenue

Max dives into the reasons behind Grammarly’s remarkable success and its exponential growth to a $13 billion company. He attributes a large part of this growth to the decision to hire an outside CEO, which had a significant impact on the company’s operations and expansion. This move allowed the founders to focus on their strengths and expertise while bringing in someone with extensive experience in scaling organizations.

Hiring an Outside CEO

Reasons for Hiring an Outside CEO

When Grammarly had around 20 employees, they made the bold decision to hire Brad, an outside CEO. Max explains that the company realized the need for scaling and sought external expertise to achieve their goals. They understood that micromanaging was not feasible due to the volume of work, so they believed in hiring smart people and giving them the freedom and space to think independently. This strategic decision was driven by their goal of creating a multi-billion dollar business.

Impact on Company’s Growth and Operations

The hiring of an outside CEO had a profound impact on Grammarly’s growth and operations. It allowed the founders to focus on their respective areas of expertise while the CEO took charge of scaling the organization. This decision proved to be instrumental in propelling Grammarly’s revenue to $13 billion. Max highlights the importance of recognizing when external expertise is needed and being open to bringing in talented individuals to drive growth.

Underestimation and Breakthrough

Initial Underestimation of Grammarly

Max acknowledges the initial underestimation and dismissiveness that Grammarly faced. Many people perceived it as just another chrome plug-in or a spell-check tool, failing to recognize its full potential. However, Max and his team saw an opportunity to improve communication and writing for both professional and casual writers. They believed in the power of their product and were determined to prove its worth.

Key Breakthrough Moment

Grammarly’s breakthrough moment came when people started to realize the significant impact the tool had on their writing. Initially, many were skeptical and questioned whether Grammarly was anything more than a chrome plug-in. However, as users tried the tool, they experienced tangible benefits in productivity, satisfaction, and the overall quality of their writing. Max confidently emphasizes that Grammarly is so much more than a simple spell-check tool, and its value cannot be underestimated.

Asking The Founder Of Grammarly How He Built A $13 Billion Company

Business Ideas Related to Grammarly

Exploring Other Potential Business Ideas

Max discusses the exploration of other potential business ideas that may be related to Grammarly. While Grammarly’s core product focuses on grammar and writing improvement, there are potential avenues for expansion into related markets. This ongoing exploration allows the Grammarly team to constantly innovate and find new ways to provide value to their users.

Expansion into Related Markets

As Grammarly continues to grow, Max and his team consider expanding into related markets to broaden their product offerings. They explore the possibilities of acquiring companies that specialize in processing on devices, further solidifying their position as a leader in the industry. By venturing into new markets, Grammarly aims to provide a comprehensive suite of tools and services that cater to the diverse needs of writers worldwide.

The Non-Standard Nature of Grammarly

Unique Features and Capabilities of Grammarly

Max emphasizes the non-standard nature of Grammarly as a product, setting it apart from traditional grammar tools. While many grammar tools focus solely on spell-checking and basic grammar corrections, Grammarly goes beyond that. It offers a range of unique features and capabilities that help users improve their writing style, enhance readability, and refine their messaging. Max highlights the value of Grammarly’s comprehensive approach to writing improvement.

Setting It Apart from Traditional Grammar Tools

Grammarly’s ability to go beyond simple grammar corrections and offer advanced writing suggestions is what sets it apart from traditional grammar tools. Max explains that Grammarly analyzes the context of the writing and provides intelligent insights, ensuring that not only grammar but also clarity, coherence, and overall effectiveness are improved. This advanced approach makes Grammarly a powerful tool for writers in various fields and industries.

Bootstrap Journey and Ownership

Bootstrapping in the Early Stages

Max shares insight into the early stages of Grammarly’s journey, highlighting their bootstrapping approach. The founders, including Max himself, put their own resources into the company to get it off the ground. This bootstrapping allowed them to maintain control over the company’s direction and decisions, empowering them to build a product they believed in without external constraints.

Ownership Structure of Founders and Employees

The founders and employees of Grammarly have a significant ownership stake in the company. Max reveals that they managed to keep a significant portion of the company with the founders and employees, ensuring that they are aligned with the company’s success and growth. This ownership structure fosters a strong sense of commitment and dedication among the team members, as they are not only employees but also co-owners of the company.

Initial Dismissiveness of Grammarly

Perception as Just a Chrome Plug-In

Grammarly initially faced dismissiveness from some people who perceived it as just a chrome plug-in. However, Max highlights that Grammarly’s value goes far beyond a simple browser extension. It is a powerful tool that has proven to enhance writing skills, improve communication, and boost overall productivity. Overcoming this dismissive perception was crucial in establishing Grammarly as a leading writing improvement tool.

Overcoming Initial Dismissiveness

Grammarly was able to overcome the initial dismissiveness by showcasing the tangible impact it had on users’ writing. Max explains that many individuals initially had doubts about Grammarly’s usefulness but were pleasantly surprised when they experienced its benefits firsthand. The results spoke for themselves, dispelling any doubts and proving that Grammarly was a game-changer in the world of writing.

Impact and Importance of Grammarly

Enhancing Productivity and Satisfaction

Grammarly’s impact on productivity and satisfaction cannot be overstated. Max highlights the significant improvements that users have seen in their writing efficiency and overall satisfaction with their written work. By using Grammarly, individuals can catch grammar and writing errors in real-time, saving them from potential embarrassment and helping them articulate their thoughts more clearly. This enhanced productivity ultimately translates into better professional and personal outcomes.

Role in Improving Communication and Writing Skills

Grammarly’s role in improving communication and writing skills is another crucial aspect. Max explains that by providing intelligent suggestions and corrections, Grammarly helps users become better writers. It goes beyond simply pointing out mistakes and assists users in refining their writing style, enhancing coherence, and effectively conveying their message. The impact on communication skills is not limited to professional writers but extends to anyone who wants to improve their writing abilities.

Switch to Operating System Level Integration

Transitioning to a Deeper Integration

Grammarly recently made a significant transition by moving from being a chrome plug-in to operating system-level integration. This transition allows Grammarly to integrate with all applications, not just web apps, significantly expanding its reach and functionality. Max explains that this switch has been a game-changer for Grammarly, allowing it to provide seamless writing enhancement across various platforms and improving the overall user experience.

Benefits and Challenges of OS Integration

The transition to operating system-level integration brings both benefits and challenges for Grammarly. On the benefits side, it significantly broadens Grammarly’s reach and allows users to access its features across a wide range of applications. However, this transition also comes with technical complexities and the need for ongoing development and maintenance to ensure a smooth user experience. Despite these challenges, Max believes that the switch to OS integration was a necessary step to take Grammarly to the next level.


Max Lytvyn’s interview provides a fascinating glimpse into the founding story of Grammarly and its journey to becoming a $13 billion company. From the decision to hire an outside CEO and the breakthrough moment that changed perceptions to expanding into related markets and the unique capabilities of Grammarly, the article highlights the wit, humor, and incredible growth of the company. Furthermore, it showcases the impact and importance of Grammarly in enhancing productivity, improving communication and writing skills, and the exciting transition to deeper integration with operating systems.

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