Community-led growth (CLG) has emerged as a popular mechanism for doing business as companies strive to create an ecosystem of avid users that organically attract new customers, serve as a support network for millions, and completely upset. own will.
Companies such as Stripe, Slack, Canva, Notion and Figma have grown significantly out of the backs of their respective communities, which in turn has spawned a slew of new technologies aimed at helping such companies tap into their fan base, their biggest proponents. and spin that CLG flywheel. Investors have also taken note: in the past year alone, we have seen companies like Commsor $50 Million Series B; Common room safe $52 million; Threado moves in Seed round of $3.1 million; and, more recently, Talkbase raise 2 million dollars to enable user-led growth for any business.
Now another new company has entered the community-led growth battle with a slightly different approach to the existing players, one focused on developer communities and with open source at its core.
Founded in Berlin in 2021, crowd.dev brings together data from numerous developer communities, including GitHub, Discord, Slack, Twitter, DEV, and Hacker News, and provides analytics and workflow automations on top of this aggregated data.
For example, a developer tools company wants to better understand its users and build relationships with both them and their employers to hone their product and find a better product-market fit. This may involve collecting and viewing all direct and indirect feedback in a single interface, or using one of Crowd.dev’s premium tools such as eagle eye which relies on natural language processing (NLP) to identify community discussions ripe for engagement.
To take things to the next level, Crowd.dev just raised €2.2 million ($2.2 million) in a pre-seed funding round led by Seedcamp and Lightbird, with participation from Possible Ventures, Angel Invest and a handful of angel donors. In addition, the German startup has made its core platform open source, a move that stands out somewhat in an increasingly crowded space.
But first it’s worth considering Why Developer-focused companies may need a dedicated platform to drive their community-led growth efforts, as the incumbents can already be used for any community of users — developers included.
Crowd.dev CEO and co-founder Jonathan Reimer argues that the word “community” has a wide variety of connotations and can mean anything from social media influencers to online learning groups. Ultimately, a “one-size-fits-all” approach won’t work – a company focused on attracting developers will likely need different tools than a company looking to attract creators or crypto fans.
“There has been hype around community, but also disappointment with new tools created to make community building easier,” Reimer explained to australiabusinessblog.com. “I’ve tried [existing] tools at previous jobs and was never satisfied because they didn’t match my use case. As with CRMs (customer relationship management software), we believe there will be a verticalization in the community software space. We are the first to enter the developer space.”
This “verticalization” is important for building a platform that people actually want to use. In the case of Crowd.dev, which strives to create a product that proposes actions a user can take based on data from the developer community, this allows Reimer to better tailor its product and create “a more reliable model,” as Reimer puts it, for example, in terms of detecting feedback or evaluating sentiment.
“It would be incredibly difficult to achieve this for all types of communities at the same time,” Reimer said. “Developer communities have amazing similarities, and especially for open source communities, we have access to a lot of historical training data.”
The open source factor
Open source communities have long played a fundamental role in driving software adoption, which is partly why a growing number of companies choose to make their products available under an open source license. If developers are able to tinker with software themselves, contribute some code, and even add new features with minimal friction, they are more likely to use the software in their workplace – and so are more likely to encourage their employers to use it. to convince that it is worth paying for premium features on top of the open source product. And this is the main driving force behind Crowd.dev’s focus on open source development communities and the reasons to open source its own platform.
“We believe that an essential tool for developer-focused, open source businesses — as community management is — should be open source itself,” Reimer said.
Switching to an open source platform can also bring other benefits. For example, companies seeking greater transparency and control over their data can host Crowd.dev on their own infrastructure, and pay Crowd.dev to unlock access to unlimited users and integrations. Or businesses can choose to pay for the hosted incarnation of Crowd.dev, which includes a free base tier alongside more advanced enterprise plans.
In its short life to date, Crowd.dev claims quite an impressive number of clients such as The Linux Foundation and Microsoft, a company that has increasingly embraced open source over the past eight years after a somewhat icy attitude toward community-driven software in previous years.
Reimer said Microsoft is using Crowd.dev to serve Flatcar Linux, a Linux distribution for container workloads it’s now following. developer Kinvolk. taking over back in 2021.
“They mainly use Crowd.dev to analyze community engagement, spot relevant stargazers on GitHub, and create reports,” Reimer said.
In reality, Microsoft and its big tech-ilk will not be typical users, due to the fact that most of Crowd.dev’s target customers will be smaller companies looking for growth. Still, it’s indicative of the mindshare Crowd.dev has managed to secure so far, with “several hundreds of organizations” joining the company’s beta product since March of this year.
“Eighty percent of our users are companies between Seed and Series B that see the community as one of their critical growth channels,” said Reimer.
With a fresh $2.2 million in the bank, the company said it plans to add more applications and data integrations to the mix before making it generally available to the public.