I Joined Alphaworks

Over the past ten years, founders increased their focus on the VC community. And VCs earned it. VCs replaced their impenetrable veil with concerted efforts to connect with companies and to help them at their earliest stages. Incubators popped up all over the world. Content proliferated. Firms hired community managers. Approachable Angels and Micro-VCs emerged in throngs. And the bilateral adoption of investment portals has made for a more efficient marketplace.

While a vibrant ecosystem arose that strengthened the bonds between startups and VCs, each startup's individual community has fallen by the wayside. And by "community," I mean a startup's users, customers, partners and fans. Startups have gotten great at serving their communities through product—applying lean startup principles and endless optimization—but there hasn't been a concerted attempt at fostering deeper connections; connections that go beyond the ways in which a user interacts with the startup's product. This is unfortunate because users are people, and they are capable of much more than clicks. They can develop deep emotions about a company—its founders, its story, its vision—and these emotions can be expressed through long-term loyalty and patronship. Such an outcome is much more impactful than what can be achieved from the startup's relationship with the VC community.

But how can we foster deeper connections between startups and their communities? This is the question that Alphaworks seeks to answer, and I am incredibly excited to share that I joined the team. At its core, Alphaworks lets startups raise funding from their communities, but you can expect a lot more from us in the future as we explore and champion the idea of "community ownership."  

I closely followed the startup ecosystem's evolution over the past few years. I even tried to accelerate it through TechStars, Startup{ery, @BrandedVC and other projects. I believe that Alphaworks is the most ambitious effort to come around in a while, and that it can be as pivotal to a startup's success as its participation in a top incubator, or its funding by a top VC firm. 

We're just getting started on this mission, so get in touch if you're interested in learning more or even joining the team (yes, we're hiring!).