Chief community officer is the new CMO
Community isn’t a single Slack group or event or newsletter. It’s an aggregation of all of these touch points, and includes both customers, eventual customers and one-time users.
Despite this nebulous, disconnected reality, companies are paying more attention to various channels as remote work and digital communication powers our days. My recent tweet underscored the chord community strikes even in sectors such as edtech, which often have to sell to fragmented customer bases.
A conversation that I’ve been having over the last week is that startups are finally investing in community in a meaningful way, dedicating actual budgets to community instead of simply stealing a few dollars away from the sales and marketing team.
As one founder told me, “chief community officer is the new CMO.” That piqued my interest, especially because I had just talked to Commsor founder Mac Reddin about his recent funding, a $16 million Series A led by Felicis and Seven Seven Six Ventures.
As the ‘aha’ moment of community continues, Commsor is a solution to help community managers prove that they’re not wasting the budget, and outcomes. Commsor, he says, is the operating system for communities, helping companies distill how their different communities look, and feel, which could eventually trickle down into generating sales leads and revenue. Commsor could pull an insight like, ‘here are three engineers that are using your platform from Google, maybe it’s time to approach Google and ask if they want an enterprise contract.” Finding those sweet spots, and bottoms-up community adopters, is Commsor’s bread and butter.
Commsor, which is still in private beta, says that over the last year there has been a “huge increase” in startups that have a community budget or increase in community budget. To be a startup aiming to disrupt a category that still has a tone of gray in it comes with its own challenges.
Commsor launched C School to help aspiring community managers learn the trade, as well as a fund to back companies in the space. It also posted a memo with signatures from companies like Hopin, Lattice and Notion to show the commitment to defining the community space.
“We are kind of what Customer Success was 10 years ago, or what Revenue Operations was 300 years ago,” Reddin said. “People care about it and there are roles, but there’s still a lot of defining and growth to be done.”
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll get into early-stage startup competition, the pipeline problem, and Bitcoin breaking barriers. As always, you can find me on Twitter @nmasc_ or e-mail me email@example.com. Want Startups Weekly in your inbox every Saturday. Sign up here.
Will your investor put money into a competitor?
When an investor backs a startup, they ideally think that the company will be the winner in said category, whether it’s CBD gummies, financial plumbing or peer-to-peer car-sharing. So, if they place a bet in a competing startup the investment could serve as both a negative signal and a reputation hit.
Here’s what to know, via Alex Wilhelm: As software markets mature, maybe the investing playing field is opening up to investing in competitors? Call it conveniently complementary investments.