The startup community during Corona

Many things have changed in the past couple of months. For an organization that is all about connecting people, the Corona pandemic has certainly turned our usual take on business upside down - we host over 60 in-person events annually!

This post is more a reflection of the startup community but the concepts can be applied to any kind of community.

Startup C-Level meetups: building relationships.

  • Primarily to ensure that the people who should be talking, are talking. For example, CEOs of Series-A startups are all going through the same growing pains relative to their phase in general, they may as well talk about it. Maybe one has a different approach to working in a distributed model, one has a certain tool they use, one uses email - one doesn’t.

AMA sessions: sharing knowledge.

  • Online, of course, we held a bunch of both closed and open AMA sessions with experienced members in their respective fields. Topics ranged from: how did you handle collaboration when everyone isn’t at the office, how did you do marketing during this time when there is so much online noise, how to fundraise from VCs and how to fundraise from family offices etc.
  • These not only proved to be valuable for the topic itself but just ensuring that the right people were present (if it’s a Chief Marketing Officer meetup, only the heads of marketing should be there) so that they could build relationships.

Source of information: filter the noise.

  • Being the ‘simplifier’ of information in a time when your online attention is being pulled in many directions is very helpful. For example, something as simple as making blog posts that sum up what state support is available can go a long way for the members that are looking to just consume the necessary information.
  • Make sure you share big wins for the community, whatever that may look like for you. For us we had two awesome pieces of news come out during this time, Mapillary joined Facebook and we had a VC fund launched in Malmö with a climate only investment thesis. Wins bring the community together in times like these.

Connect the right Venture Capital firms with the right startups: do what you’ve always done.

  • When everything looks different, it’s easy to get caught up in staying afloat. Make sure you’re not forgetting your anchor service/activity and adapting it to the way the world looks now - a very digital world.
  • Startups need money, especially in times like these. That’s going to come from one of two places: customers or investors. We as an organization facilitate most inbound Venture Capital firms looking to connect with startups that match their portfolio in the southern Sweden region. We shifted this to digital meetings. In many ways it was a more streamlined process, so it was great to have everyone on board for something we’ve been thinking about for a while.

These are some of the more notable things we have done to keep our startup community alive. It essentially comes down to: make sure everything you do is relevant. We believe in taking the randomness out of people meeting & facilitating those connections, be that online or offline.

Other ideas of things that can be implemented in a community:

  • Recurring online social meetups, e.g. every Monday at 19:00 GMT is poker night.
  • Online one-on-one coffee/cooking food together sessions.
  • Slack channels for random chit chat, e.g. a thread dedicated to ‘Netflix recommendations’.