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Startup communities and growth hacking networks are popping up in every corner of the world (and in all corners of the internet). These entrepreneurial ecosystems are a goldmine of ideas and knowledge created to help founders boost innovation and gain insights that will help them with launching their startups.
With millions of startups launching every year, it’s no surprise that founders and leaders are seeking out like-minded individuals in similar fields to discuss their big ideas and receive feedback. For some, a startup community can be a springboard for getting an idea off the ground. For others, it is a hub of inspiration, creativity and networking.
With so many online communities out there, it can be hard to find the most valuable ones. In this blog, we’ve rounded up 11 of the best startup communities.
In today’s digital-first, information-rich world, entrepreneurs are lucky enough to have access to an abundance of (mostly free) resources. You don’t have to venture far to find a business founder talking about their experiences online – their challenges, barriers, wins, failures, learnings, etc. And it’s not hard to find new perspectives, as people from different backgrounds who operate in different industries and niches, e.g. SaaS, are sharing rich advice. It’s therefore highly likely you will find people whose stories, ideas and advice resonate with you.
But the question is: how do you find these people? Sure, you can go onto YouTube and find creators in your field, or listen to interviews on podcasts like ‘How I Built This’ and ‘The Diary of a CEO,’ but these people aren’t exactly at your fingertips. They are behind an invisible media wall.
This is where online communities really prove their value. They are created and sustained by people like you – people who have an idea and want to bring it to life and talk about their growth journey. Over time, these communities attract like-minded individuals who share knowledge and their experiences – good and bad — to help others. This information is often more valuable than learning in a more traditional medium because community members have boots-on-the-ground experience and can give real, actionable advice.
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the below questions, you should consider joining a startup community:
Do you have a business idea you want to explore?
Are you an entrepreneur looking for advice on marketing, sales, tech, development, logistics, staffing or funding?
Are you a business founder encountering a particular challenge you don’t know how to fix?
Are you a startup founder or leader approaching a new growth phase?
Are you looking to hire talent to help lift your startup off the ground?
The benefits of joining a startup community include:
The opportunity to connect with like-minded people who share common interests and experiences
The opportunity to hear about other people’s successes and failures first-hand
Access to helpful resources and honest reviews of business tools and software
Enhanced knowledge and understanding of launching a business – and, in turn, better business outcomes
Career networking opportunities (lots of communities encourage members to post and share job listings)
A support network that can motivate you and help you navigate sticky problems. Startup life can be tough!
What’s more, community platforms are often member-led meaning there is little nonsense, advertisements or self-promotion to wade through before you get to the good stuff.
If you want to pick the brains of your peers and walk away with valuable nuggets of advice you can put into practice, you’ll need to know where to look. Below, we have rounded up 11 of the best startup communities to check out.
Best for: Mentorship.
If you’re looking for a mentor to walk beside you as you start or scale your business, Growth Mentor might be the community for you. Growth Mentor is a mentorship platform for founders and marketers looking to grow their businesses. For $75 a month billed quarterly, community members can have direct conversations with the 400+ industry-leading mentors on the roster (from the likes of Atlassian, Zendesk, Amazon etc.). Members are also granted access to a video library and workshops and can connect with like-minded peers in active discussion groups. Armed with top-notch advice, founders can supercharge their marketing efforts to lift their startup off the ground and get it scaling in no time.
Best for: Connection and education.
Entrepreneurs looking for expertise in launching a startup should check out Startup Grind. Startup Grind is a global startup community that educates, inspires and connects entrepreneurs. Founded in 2010, it is the brainchild of Derek Andersen who wanted to create a place for entrepreneurs to talk about the challenges they were facing when launching a company. Before long, the community had attracted founders and experts from around the world and from different industries who share key learnings and advice.
Today, there are Startup Grind communities (aka ‘chapters’) in major cities around the world (Los Angeles, Tel Aviv, London, New York, Beijing, etc.) where entrepreneurs can connect locally.
Best for: Those starting out.
Are you a novice entrepreneur starting from square one? StartupNation can teach you “how to start a business”. It is bolstered by four experts and thought leaders and offers a wealth of resources and how-tos via blog posts, interactive guides, podcasts and webinars. The community is a hub of information and knowledge split into categories such as ‘startup business basics,’ ‘marketing, sales and public relations,’ ‘personal growth,’ ‘business operations,’ and ‘finance and funding.’ The search function allows members to jump to the content that resonates with them the most.
StartupNation is also a valuable resource for entrepreneurs who have already have a business up and running but want to learn about growth hacking.
Best for: Founders looking to connect with talent, funding and resources.
FoundersBeta is a networking community created to connect founders with marketers, designers, developers and other professionals to actualize their goals. The platform lists tech startup jobs, events and courses. Course include ‘SEO for Startups,’ ‘Find that Dream Co-Founder,’ and ‘Recruitment Tools.’ FoundersBeta also has a magazine with articles about all things tech startups and careers.
FoundersBeta has a membership base of over 10,000. To access job postings and attend online events, founders or early-stage startups must pay $199 per year. Membership costs increase for scale ups who get access to exclusive events, talent matching, and editorial content coverage.
Best for: Non-technical founders.
Founders who don’t consider themselves to be highly ‘technical’ – or maybe they have a no-code business model – should check out No Code Founders. This global platform has over 12,000 members with similar skillsets and ideas who learn from one another. Members can also access a wealth of resources including playbooks, blog posts, tutorials, a Slack group, events, and a no-code tool finder. With these insights, no-code founders will find business success.
Best for: Product developers looking for strategy-sharing.
IndieHackers is a treasure trove of information. It is an online forum for developers to share the strategies and revenue numbers behind their companies and side projects. Members can join in on multiple discussion topics depending on their interests and needs.
IndieHackers also has a podcast, hosts regular in-person and remote meetups, and offers opportunities to partner up with other members on projects. One of the more interesting features of the community is the ‘Self Care’ hub: “A place to talk about your mental health and challenges as a founder”. This is a refreshing addition to the community as life as a founder can be tough, and prioritizing wellbeing can be a game-changer.
Best for: Discovering new products in tech.
If you’re looking for new tools or best-fit software to lift your startup off the ground, you should check out Product Hunt – a website where people can share and discover new products, with a review and voting system (similar to Reddit).
Product Hunt’s community is a “place for product-loving enthusiasts to share and geek out about the latest mobile apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations.” Members can interact on discussion threads about topics such as: growth, time management, ideas and validation, developers, side projects, marketing and SEO, design, launch tips, no code, product management, feedback, success and failure, and remote working.
Best for: Marketing professionals.
Demand Curve is a 50,000-strong online community for growth and marketing professionals. It is ripe with resources, information, and tips for founders and marketers looking to fast-track business growth. Demand Curve members get access to free content such as playbooks and how-to articles. Members also receive a newsletter straight into their inbox each that covers topics like growth hacks and general marketing expertise.
Best for: Those focused on growth hacking.
If you’re a startup founder, it’s likely you’ve heard of growth hacking. Expand your knowledge through the GrowthHackers Community – a one-stop-shop for all things business growth. The platform has more than 150,000 active users, and features a variety of discussion boards on topics from email marketing and social media strategy, to outsourcing talent and the best CDP software. Members can also attend live and virtual events and customize their user experience to experience content that it most relevant to them.
Best for: SaaS founders.
If you’re a founder of a SaaS company, you should join SaaStr: an online community dedicated to business software. SaaStr is the destination for SaaS founders, executives and enthusiasts looking to grow their business through peer-to-peer learning. Members also get access to content like podcasts, ebooks, training, and year-round events. Better yet, the search function makes finding solutions a breeze. Simply type in your search query and you’ll be presented with relevant information from people who have already walked the walk.
SaaStr also hosts the largest B2B software conference in the world: Annual SaaStr. It offers networking sessions, workshops, classes, and guest speaking events from the leaders of global SaaS companies.
Best for: PLG enthusiasts.
Product-Led Alliance was founded in 2019 and is an online community for “product professionals and growth gurus”. It brings together founders and thought leaders with pioneers in the product space. Members can gain insight into the minds of startup professionals and leaders from tech giants, like Amazon and Spotify.
PLA has a Slack community with a plethora of channels such as recommended reading, to job postings, upcoming events, Q&A and more. Basically, all good product chat lives inside this community.
Whether you’re a founder or employee number 30, life in a startup is challenging, fulfilling, and fun – a whirlwind full of highs and lows. Finding a great community where you can bounce ideas, find inspiration, solve problems, and connect with like-minded individuals can make a huge difference to you and your business’s wellbeing.
At first, it might be worth joining a handful of communities to see which feels right for you. After that, it’s best to choose just one or two to commit to. That way, you’ll still have the time to be an active participant and get the most out of what your chosen community has to offer.
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