Why we invested in Outverse

We are delighted to announce the open beta launch and $6M Seed round of Outverse. We are investing alongside US-based Wing Venture Capital (early investors in Gong, Snowflake and Pinecone) as well as our friends at Seedcamp, Connect Ventures, TinyVC and Paul Forster.

We met Kyran (CEO & Co-Founder) as our extended colleague working at Seedcamp. He noticed that community building can be a GTM superpower and enabler for scaling CX & product feedback. Yet, many companies struggle with finding a platform that can scale with their growing community and provide the right features and functionality to keep members engaged. At Notion we found that, in the broader market, 56% are somewhat or not at all satisfied with their community management platform*. So when Kyran, Ollie (CPO & Co-Founder) and Jeylani (CTO & Co-Founder) came together - leveraging their strong product skills and experience working in & with high-growth companies -  to create a platform that addresses these needs, it caught our attention. 

We believe that Outverse will become the rails that will power the online communities being built by start-ups over the next decade. The platform consists of rich discussion, feedback & support forums; knowledge-base documentation; and streamlined team workflow functionality.

Two-thirds of the Outverse waitlist (thousands-strong!) are using Slack or Discord to build out their community. We have experienced that both platforms are currently not suited to grow, manage and scale a product community. Slack’s per-user business model is misaligned with building a large scale external community. Also, Discord & Slack are siloed tools which don’t enable knowledge to be publicly indexed. This is where we believe Outverse is filling an important gap and can optimise the end-to-end community experience.

We hope to use Outverse with our portfolio companies later in the year. It’s a fast to use and out-of-the-box experience, allowing us to also make integrations with other software. Once active, the design used to manage workflows particularly excites us.

At Notion, we have seen for a long time how sales and marketing teams were the main forces of growth for the biggest tech companies (e.g. IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle). Here, decision makers were looking into KPIs and ROI to evaluate how well a given piece of software could help their team achieve its goals. Without investment in sales and marketing, a company was unlikely to find success. Only in the last decade, we have seen the explosion of product-led growth (PLG). This has been driven by the ease of distribution of software online; users are the ones who lead software discovery and heavily influence buying decisions by management. In a downturn, proximity to existing customers can also drive retention and upsell. All these being tailwinds for community growth.

Today, we have realised that PLG means a lot more than we thought. Where product-led companies build an audience of customers that are consumers of the product, community-led can create a community of members that contribute to the platform. Community-Led Growth (CLG) is therefore a super-extension of PLG. Under CLG, customers are interacting with like-minded people and the community has ROI in itself. 

The most well-known example here is how Salesforce leveraged community**:

  • Marketing saw an increase in overall loyalty and brand awareness. After starting the community, 5-7% of Twitter mentions about Salesforce were generated by a handful of active community members
  • The in-house CS team doesn’t answer any new questions at all. The community answers about 80% of the incoming questions and the support reps wait 24 hours and then they clean everything up
  • Product uses the community to generate early product feedback and obtain testimonials  

Just like Salesforce, many other PLG companies (e.g. Zapier, UiPath, Figma, etc) have shown the ability to grow faster and more efficiently by leveraging their community. Within the wider market, job postings for community managers have increased by 171% (data from 2021*) over the past four years. All of them will need a favourite platform to engage their community… 

We are delighted to announce our investment in Outverse today and are beyond excited to see the next generation of communities built as the platform enters open beta.

Why Notion? A note from the Founders…

“In choosing who to bring on as partners in our journey, Notion stood out strongly. As well as being fast, flexible and easy to deal with when it came to the fundraising process, we found the whole team to be extremely thoughtful & independent-minded. They’ve already had a great impact post-investment as a strategic sparring partner, especially on topics like GTM & the talent function. We’re hugely delighted to have them in our corner.” Kyran Schmidt (CEO at Outverse) 

* https://cmxhub.com/community-industry-report-2021/ 

** https://cmxhub.com/erica-kuhl-salesforce-community-roi/

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