Investment funds: create a community for your companies_background

Today, all companies are aware of the power of communities. And more importantly, all companies are able to create their own.

Take Venture Capital funds: these investment firms are surrounded by promising startups, in which they invest. But then, why create a community experience, which brings these companies together? How can we, as investors, successfully engage a venture capital community?

To answer these questions, we interviewed Jeanne Cluset, VC Associate at Kima Ventures. Created by Xavier Niel, Kima Ventures leads and engages a VC community of over 1,000 startups: here is their feedback and advice.

Community Building: its multiple facets

Community Building is based on one approach: federating a group of individuals around a common interest and shared values. This fast-growing concept is taking over all types of communities: communities of customers, communities of prospects, communities of employees, communities of partners, etc. But that's not all!

Among the many aspects of community building, we also find the communities of companies created by VCs. Today, investment funds like Kima Ventures are not only looking to invest money in hundreds of startups. These startups share common interests, goals and experiences. The challenge is to bring them together in tightly knit communities.

"Our portfolio of companies is not just a portfolio of companies. It is above all a real community of around 1,000 startups! We are support points for the companies we accompany. But we don't know everything. So, creating a community has enabled us to connect startups with each other, to encourage the sharing of experiences, collective learning... A truly virtuous circle for everyone." - Jeanne Cluset, VC Associate at Kima Ventures

Venture Capital: why create your community of companies?

The companies Kima Ventures invests in have one thing in common. They are mainly startups in the pre-seed phase, eager to grow and achieve a Go-To Market. Given their background and experience, these companies have a lot to share. For Kima Ventures, building on these synergies to create a venture capital community was an obvious choice.

The creation of a community of companies from the same investment portfolio allows to :

Multiply meetings and feedback: through digital tools and face-to-face events. For example, Kima Ventures has its own community platform, uses Slack for more direct exchanges and organises regular physical events.

Sharing resources more easily: the community allows the sharing of resources, relevant content and useful information. For example, resources on innovation, market regulations or business strategies can be shared as videos to watch or documents to download.

Continuous improvement: the investment fund learns from the startups in its community (their issues, desires, needs, etc.). Community members also learn from each other. It's a virtuous circle of learning and continuous improvement!

Encourage mutual support: on certain issues, members are more likely to help each other directly. The investment fund encourages this mutual help and collective solidarity.

Boosting individual growth: a community of companies created and run by VCs is a lever for Community-Led Growth. The growth of each member company is boosted, thanks to the VC community. The growth of the investment fund is also impacted and guided by the community: this is the challenge of Community-Led Growth.

How to run your business community, as an investment fund

Every year, VCs invest in many developing companies. Bringing these players together in a single community is a great initiative. But it is not enough to transform a portfolio of companies into a community... It must also be engaged and committed over time!

Here are 3 important levers to animate a community as a VC, highlighted by Jeanne Cluset (Kima Ventures):

Create a memorable onboarding process

Onboarding community members is a formidable tipping point. You know the saying: you never get a second chance to make a good first impression!

To facilitate the integration of its community members, Kima Ventures has switched from individual to collective onboarding. Every month, new members are welcomed together during a virtual event (demo and remote talk), followed by an afterwork in person (if possible).

This collective onboarding experience immerses members directly in a community dynamic. This practice contributes to forging strong links, right from the creation of the community.

Facilitating continuous exchange

To create a successful community, it is essential to offer a seamless experience. At any time, members should be able to turn to their trusted partners present in the community. Facilitating the ability to share continuously is therefore essential.

To engage a community through continuous exchange, tools are needed. This is why, at MeltingSpot, we offer a community platform that facilitates interaction and sharing. Each investment fund can create its own community from within MeltingSpot, then animate it by organising lives, sharing interesting resources, allowing the creation of discussion groups... In order to share the right content, in the right place, to the right person and at the right time.

The ultimate goal is simple: to allow each member to talk easily and freely. All this, thanks to an intuitive tool that breaks with the ambient noise of social networks. In a world where 10,000 tweets are posted every second and 100 million Instagram photos per day... Engaging your community on a dedicated platform is a must!  

Venture capital community

Organise regular events

It's time for digital transformation, but let's not forget what "really" matters: the creation of solid and long-lasting links, outside the screens. To animate a startup community, VCs have every interest in creating face-to-face meetings.

For Kima Ventures, "real-life meetings can change everything. It is important to facilitate these face-to-face moments with the community, as regularly as possible.

For example, why not organise quarterly themed breakfasts on a specific subject? Or a monthly afterwork dedicated to companies in the same sector, to stimulate the sharing of good practices? Or an annual celebration event to bring together all the members of the community?

Community building

VC community: 3 final tips, to create and engage yours

Now you know why to turn a portfolio of companies into a tight-knit community. But, if as a VC, you're still hesitant to take action... Here are 3 final tips from Community-Led Growth, which MeltingSpot and Kima Ventures are aligned on:

1- Don't listen to conventional wisdom

Each community has its own codes and goals. For example, the FoodTech community Smart Kaps relies on a community of prospects, to market its first product. The customer community of the company Papa Outang transforms its community of B2C customers into shareholders, to boost its growth. Finally, GitHub's B2B community facilitates collaboration between developers around the world.

For communities created by investment funds, it is the same observation: each community has its own codes and its own objectives. So, a word of advice: when you start out, don't listen to conventional wisdom.

Each Community-Led Growth strategy deserves to be tested, without listening to the injunctions of other players in the same sector. Indeed, what doesn't work for some communities may work for others. To federate, animate and engage, you get the idea: test, improve and start again!

2- Ask for continuous feedback

Community-Led Growth is not a top-down strategy. It is the members who co-construct with the company (like an investment fund) the community. It is therefore a collaborative project. So, to co-create the most engaged community, remember to listen to the members!

Collecting continuous feedback is a must. To do this, don't hesitate to create thematic discussion groups (by perks, by metropolis, etc.). The more you listen to members, the more you will be able to offer personalised experiences. The ROI (return on investment) of a community is more favourable, by the way, when the strategy is based on listening and taking into account the needs.

3- Surround yourself and equip yourself, thanks to Community Builders and community platforms

As with all communities, investment fund communities do not run themselves. To create, animate and engage effectively and sustainably, it is essential to surround yourself with people and equipment.

To animate the community on a daily basis, a Community Builder is essential. This is a key role, embodying the voice of the company to its members. The Community Builder ensures the deployment of the Community-Led Growth strategy, develops care actions for the community and ensures that the objectives and ROI are achieved over time.

At the same time, community management must be based on tools designed for this purpose. Social networks are less and less adapted to community strategies and to the expectations of members and companies alike: to offer relevant and adapted experiences, the ideal is to rely on a Community Platform.

To discover our community platform that adapts to the needs of all communities (founders' community on the VC side, prospects' community on the SAAS side, new users' community on the Product management side), it’s this way:

community platform

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