Today we announced our first round of venture funding. These are super exciting times for inSided, our customers, the entire team and also for ourselves, as founders. With this blog post, we wanted to share a little bit of the background story.
Let’s go back in history
We both founded companies before. We’ve basically been online since ages. Creating websites when databases did not exist yet. Selling advertising when our parents didn’t even have an internet connection yet. Both our companies were building independent communities. Large popular websites, where people could find information on certain interests. The more people we attracted to our portfolio, the more revenue would flow in. We learned about building a large group of ambassadors and super users. People who posted over 20,000 times in our community, averaging 10 posts per day, 365 days a year, 5 years in a row. We learned about the power of communities and what it could mean for people. Amazing times.
Going forward to today
A few years ago, we shifted from building our own communities to helping bigger brands build their community. We have always believed in communities as one of the most crucial strategies for companies to adapt in their shift towards digital.
Let us share a small story. Everybody knows Dell. If Dell has a new product in the market, nobody really knows or cares. On the other hand, if Apple has a new product, the world press is writing about it and people are even sleeping on the streets to be the first to buy it. Imagine what it could mean for Dell, if they would be able to mobilize the same community as Apple has. This would completely transform their company.
So we really believe that all brands need communities in order to stay relevant. The brands of the future inspire their customers and help to remove friction in using their products. Just like consumers themselves, brands need to switch from traditional one-way channels like TV towards digital and many-to-many communication channels like communities.
So where are we now?
We are just at the beginning. We have not even scratched the surface of where we believe this is going. We believe we have a pretty good overview of what is happening—being a 60+ people company, with lots of different customers across sectors and countries. And what we are seeing is that we are not in a replacement business. We are not growing by replacing existing vendors.
Our solutions are new for 90%+ of the brands we speak with. Sure, we had T-Mobile as our launching customer, and their community is online for years. Sure, we have companies who experimented with traditional old school (1st generation) forums before. But really creating a meaningful dialogue, with a truly embedded platform in terms of technology and people—we are not there yet. Also, in many industries and in many countries, social and digital channels are not mainstream yet. Many companies still need to embrace dialogue and really create an open and transparent company. And even companies who have been a customer for several years can still make huge steps in this area.
So in order to take this momentum, and realize our ambition, we realized we could not do this alone. We needed some backup to grow faster. We, as founders, have so many ideas; if we brainstorm over dinner, we cannot sleep the entire night because of all the new possibilities spinning in our heads. After careful consideration we selected a winning team of investors. People who fully share our vision and ambition.
The alternative was to grow with less velocity. But that might not be not fast enough, meaning we lose momentum to capture the market. And we want to win. And win big. We now already have customers all across Europe and our ambition is to become the global market leader in this area. We believe we have a great vision, a great future proof product, the right DNA and the right people on the bus. And now, we have extra cash to execute.