startup pioneers

Originally published on Medium.

Startups are often championed as “disruptive” and “groundbreaking.” Founders are exalted as “innovative” and “visionary.” And venture capitalists are glorified as “prolific” and “prophetic.”

They sometimes deserve these labels. Envisioning and executing something new, while taking great risk, entails boldness. But in all of this splendor, an important group is left by the wayside: each startup’s community.

The early adopters that listen to what startups have to say, and that take a chance on their fledgling products, possess the same boldness as those building and funding the startups themselves. Any founder that has experienced the magical moment of securing a first user, customer or partner — after being countlessly rejected, and despite solving a pain point — can attest to this. This boldness even exists in people that join a startup’s community that’s no longer in its infancy. The high-effort acts of abandoning an incumbent, changing behavior, and continuing to use a product, are sacred and should be revered by startups.

Through our startup, Quire, we allow top, venture-backed companies to invite their communities to invest, enabling them to become actual co-owners of these businesses. It’s meta to this post, but we believe that users, customers and partners should be able to own a part of the companies that they helped create. Some founders balk at this idea. But there are others who listened, and took a chance on our product. In doing so, they’ve spearheaded the practice of community ownership that we originally envisioned, and they make our startup possible.

As you build your startup, or read about others in the press, never forget about the communities behind them. They are the true startup pioneers. Without them, we wouldn’t exist.