“We believe this a thriving community is a business’s most valuable asset, ”Community-led wrote in its statement. “Community evolves your business, your resources and your presence in ways that traditional marketing or advertising channels cannot. When done right, the community enables and enhances customer acquisition, streamlines support and success, builds retention, and delivers crucial product information. The community is the beating heart of the business that keeps the rest of the team running.
It is a factual document, aimed at emphasizing the importance of the community in building a future-oriented startup, while emphasizing the elasticity of the concept. But that leaves a lingering question: what exactly do we mean when we use the word “community” in the startup world?
You would think this would be a question that a panel titled “How to Cultivate a Community for Your Business that Actually Lasts” would easily answer during TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 last week. But if I have learned anything by moderating said Disrupt panels, it is that there is no easy answer to the question, in part because of the aforementioned elasticity. So is it just one of those “we know it when we see it” things, to paraphrase a famous Supreme Court decision?
“It depends on the person, the context and the company,” says Alex Angel, Chief Community Officer at Commsor. “But at the end of the day, for me, the grassroots community is a group of people who have come together with a common goal. That common goal could be your product, it could be a business, it could be a topic, it could be anything, but they’re all there intentionally around this thing to come together and talk and learn.
“Community” has become one of those buzzwords of Silicon Valley in recent years, but longtime advocates say the concept is fundamental in entrepreneurship and venture capital investing.
“Last October, when we launched the Community Fund, people were asking investors and industry founders, ‘What is this community thing? “It’s very mellow,” says Lolita Taub, vice president of corporate development at Catalyte, and co-founder and general partner of the Community Fund. “Suddenly we started to see companies like Reddit, Peloton, and Glossier becoming unicorns. You see the real generational wealth that exists in community businesses.