5 companies that built an online community with their early adopters

The aim of this piece is to shed-light on some startups that have leveraged the benefits of creating an engaged community from the ground up…

It just makes you feel invested in an eventual product

1. Mint — we can’t forget Mint who have been described as having ‘overnight success’ and didn’t really deploy any viral component. What they did have is a good understanding of what their users wanted.

2. Facebook — a story we all know about. Zuck and co have told us that they were curious about social networks and after a few iterations created an exclusive social network for Harvard students. By creating a product.

3. Monzo — in the crowded FinTech space in the UK, Monzo’s have committed to being transparent and created loyal userbase

4. Product Hunt — before Product Hunt was a site, it was simply a Linkydink group where people shared links, and then each day the collection of posts [were] emailed to the people

5. Giff Gaff — who are known for their strong community with Vincent Boon, the great community manager that helped build it.

Others worth mentioning include the Salesforce developer community


Customers and Data are a great starting point to co-create with users so that we can reduce the guesswork and have a basis of creating products that our users want. An online community goes beyond only listening when there are support issues, and data is the first step to creating a hypothesis-driven product process.

Lastly, I think the real benefit of having an engaged community (note: they may not be online) is that you can move away from thinking of experiments as large-scale pilots/focus groups that you do every 6 months. This makes it easier to do continuous discovery to consider more than one idea within an opportunity area

Nice list? Click and hold the 👏 so I can write more