[Image from GetSatisfaction] Smart money has always been desirable. Smart means connected to talent, customers and partners (and eventually more exit opportunities). Smart means guidance through startup’s existential questions from fundraising to hiring. Smart used to be defined by partners.

But now it is being shaped by something new: the community that works with the fund partners.

For example, YC’s 1,500 founders are a fantastic community. They ensure great dealflow because they’ve become some of the most successful founders. And so it’s natural for aspiring founders to look to them for guidance. And original founders now work in a diverse range of industries, offering one of the best resources for helping new YC founders from advice to being early customers and even investors.

Union Square don’t have a massive founder community to build around. Instead, they have been investing in communities like Etsy and Kickstarter and so they have had a front-row seat at some large successful communities as they intersect with traditional marketplaces. They can deploy some of this learning to help them build reputations, source deals and support their own companies too.

We founded Urban.Us on the idea the communities can be smarter than a handful of partners in some areas. The trick is figuring out which areas are best served by a small group of dedicated people and which areas are best for a community. But  we also ask who should be in the community and what tools and processes can get the best results. In the coming weeks we’ll share more of what we are learning.

CMX has a great breakdown of VC firms that are creating community management roles to help them access deals and support their portfolio companies.


Shaun Abrahamson
September 17, 2014 11:16 am

@pmryder54 exactly. My impression is their is some community which is just a next iteration of social media management. And then there are some efforts that are tapping communities to help help out founders.

Most interesting to see how YC can tap such a large group of founders. My sense is that founders will turn out to be one of the most useful stakeholders. Even if they don’t all make headlines, they can continue to contribute domain expertise and share experience with new founders.

Pete Ryder
September 16, 2014 10:09 am


great background on community — appears that community management is still in the early stages in the smart money arena.

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