Community-Led Growth is a growth strategy driven by one or more business communities. These communities, consisting of customers, partners, employees, or investors, are placed at the center of decision-making. And in recent years, their influence has been steadily increasing.
Is this a passing trend or a lasting strategic model? Is having a community the sole key to success for thriving businesses? What does the future hold for Community-Led Growth?
To shed light on these questions and refine our understanding of Community Building, MeltingSpot has sought the perspectives of investors. Juliette Mopin from ISAI, as well as Damien Pierron and Jonathan Cohen Sabban from Ankaa Ventures, are venture capitalists closely connected to successful enterprises. Their expert insights help us unravel the intricacies of Community-Led Growth.
The 3 Keys to Success from thriving companies
The Human Factor: A Central Element
Often, we attribute the success of certain companies to their products. However, there is another equally vital element in the equation that leads to success: the human factor.
According to Damien Pierron and Jonathan Cohen Sabban from Ankaa Ventures, the common thread among recent successful startups lies primarily in the human factor:
At the core of these triumphs are the individuals, both men and women, who comprise the companies... or those who support them. Juliette Mopin from ISAI asserts: "Complementary teams, the ability to draw on experience and inspiration from those who have succeeded before, active listening to users... These are the building blocks for creating value."
Discovering Product-Market Fit through Community Empowerment
To thrive, companies must harness the power of the human factor, foster meaningful interactions, and forge enduring connections with all stakeholders. However, in parallel, another crucial driver of success must coexist: the elusive "product-market fit."
Having a stellar team of founders, collaborators, and partners is not sufficient. To triumph in the "go-to-market" phase, one must offer the right product or service to the right audience, in the right market, at the right time.
Enter the realm of Community Building, an invaluable tool on this journey. Leveraging a community of beta testers to fine-tune products before launch, immersing in a network of supportive entrepreneurs willing to share their insights, or drawing upon the wealth of experience from a community of venture capitalists—all these endeavours contribute to finding that coveted product-market fit. Success is rarely a solitary quest!
Seize the moment—become "Community Centric"
"It's never too early to embrace a Community-Led Growth strategy." The investors at Ankaa Ventures wholeheartedly endorse this notion: often, the most triumphant companies are the ones that lean on their communities even before introducing a product or service. Juliette Mopin from ISAI concurs: "As VCs, we occasionally invest in startups that haven't launched their products... but already boast a thriving community!"
Indeed, Community-Led Growth has evolved into the new "pre-sales" phase, wherein community cultivation bolsters credibility, validates endeavours and transforms projects into reality.
The art of co-creating products prior to launch, fostering vibrant "many-to-many" exchanges within a tightly knit collective, and nurturing genuine engagement with a hundred ardent supporters who share the startup's vision—these elements are instrumental in unlocking the pathway to triumph.
Above all, adopt a "Community First" mentality, for greatness begins by valuing the community's essence before focusing solely on the product.
Community-Led Growth: Fleeting Trend or Enduring Strategy?
The Origins of Community-Led Growth
To truly grasp the significance of Community-Led Growth, let's delve into its origins. This growth strategy, driven by communities, originated in the United States and has gained substantial traction over the years. American companies have long recognized the pivotal role communities play—before, during, and after the launch of their offerings, products, or services.
Companies like Apple, Airbnb, and Nike serve as prime examples of B2C enterprises that have experienced remarkable growth due to the unwavering support and engagement of their dedicated user communities. In France, the significant rise of Tupperware, propelled by physical communities of brand ambassadors and loyal customers, stands as a testament to the power of community-led initiatives. In the B2B landscape, pioneering companies like Spendesk, with its CFO Connect platform, have embraced the potential of Community-Led Growth.
With the advent of digital transformation and the accelerated adoption of video conferencing technologies during the global health crisis, virtual communities have gained prominence. They have flourished, attracting an ever-growing membership base. These communities bring together individuals with shared interests, fostering a deep sense of belonging and breaking down geographical barriers for collaborative support.
From GitHub, boasting the largest community of developers with over 70 million members, to emerging direct-to-consumer brands like Sézane, captivating over 2.5 million Instagram followers, companies now recognize the invaluable role of communities in driving their growth and are placing them at the forefront of their strategic decision-making processes.
Community-Led Growth: An Enduring Strategy of Success
The collective perspective of the interviewed investors at MeltingSpot leaves no room for doubt: Community-Led Growth is far from being a passing trend destined to wane with the "Hype Cycle."
Step into the enlightening session with Joshua Zerkel at the CLG Summit 2023, as he explores the profound impact that communities can have on driving business success. Don't miss the exclusive replay available on The Community Lab, where valuable insights await you.
The undeniable success of numerous companies worldwide serves as evidence: embracing a "Community-Centric" approach and placing communities at the heart of decision-making not only fuels growth but also prevents missteps and fosters the co-creation of solutions that address tangible needs. Juliette Mopin adds an insightful perspective, stating that communities also bring forth virality and scalability, bestowing and generating value.
Damien Pierron and Jonathan Cohen Sabban contribute to the discussion by highlighting thriving European companies across various industries that leverage diverse community types to drive their expansion. For instance, Spendesk has witnessed a threefold increase in closing rates among its community of financial directors. In the realm of Deep Tech, Zama is poised to transform its community into influential advocates of value.
Juliette Mopin also highlights the emergence of novel concepts accompanying the rise of Community-Led Growth, including the Creator Economy, web 3.0 with decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), and collaborative tools like Pitch.com. These verticals emphasize the paramount role of community, and this is just the beginning of an exciting journey ahead.
What does the future hold for Community-Led Growth? How might it evolve?
According to investors, Community-Led Growth is poised to become a cornerstone of business strategy, rather than a passing trend. As we look ahead, several key developments are anticipated.
Firstly, Community-Led Growth is expected to solidify its position as the new frontier of pre-sales. Communities will continue to flourish and expand across various industries, serving as vital sources of support and engagement.
For businesses, the challenge lies in nurturing, energizing, and uniting their communities. Juliette Mopin emphasizes the importance of sustained community management, stating, "One-off events are no longer sufficient. Community engagement should be an ongoing, regular effort, centered around relevant themes." At ISAI, for instance, they foster continuous collaboration through workshops, enabling entrepreneurs to support each other and co-create value.
Looking ahead, Community-Led Growth will likely intersect with emerging growth trends. Investors from Ankaa Ventures point to the Future of Work and the rise of decentralized business models as catalysts for accelerated growth and international expansion.
The integration of artificial intelligence, data-driven strategies, and the advent of Web 3.0 will also shape the trajectory of tomorrow's successful startups. Additionally, ISAI predicts an increased focus on "co-sales," where partner companies prioritize collaborative efforts and co-construction.
As the landscape evolves, Community-Led Growth will continue to redefine business dynamics, foster innovation, and empower companies to thrive in an interconnected world.
Insights from Investors:
You now have a comprehensive understanding of Ankaa Ventures and ISAI's perspective on Community-Led Growth. At MeltingSpot, we fully endorse their insights. By harnessing the power of communities, businesses can fuel their growth while cultivating strong, engaged groups.
Are you prepared to embark on the journey of creating, nurturing, and engaging your own communities? Before taking the next step, explore our cutting-edge community platform. MeltingSpot is committed to assisting you throughout your Community-Led Growth strategy, every step of the way.👇