Shipping Port, Our Biggest Venture Yet

Nick Dijkstra
Jan 14 · 4 min read

TL;DR: I’m excited to announce that for the first time since our time at RetentionGrid, Kevin Dykes, Jake Stott, and I have been working together on an exciting new project. Today we’re announcing the launch of Port.

Port helps you grow, engage, and retain your members. Wherever they are. With clever segmentation, our automated Port Score, and the Community Health Score you know who to focus on in a heartbeat.

2020

During the period of quarantine in early 2020 I came across an article that bombarded its audience with the question ‘What will you say when people ask what you achieved during the lockdown?’. It felt a little harsh to pressure people that are dealing with a pandemic to raise the bar on their personal achievements, but it did force me to consider our current situation.

At that time, in early March, we’d been doing our best to navigate the current situation and save the jobs of our team members. Working as a service provider in the blockchain space means being subject to the tremendous volatility the markets are known for and trying to insulate yourself as best you can. Despite the fact that this wasn’t our first rodeo, it felt like the worst yet as we had to make some really difficult decisions and accompanying phone calls. But it also reinforced the notion that we should continue our efforts to build something that’s scalable. Something that we’d been working on for a while.

Back to the Start

When I moved to Berlin in the summer of 2013 to work in tech, I got hired as the first employee at a small startup called RetentionGrid. Founders Kevin and Sandy had the unique insight that most eCommerce stores deal with a massive retention problem: 86% of their customer base bought once and never again. The solution? A simple segmentation model based on frequency and recency to determine how your business is doing, how to segment your audience, and to build a retention strategy out-of-the-box. In two years we raised over $1.5M, grew a user base of over 10k, and got acquired by New York AdTech company LiveIntent.

Working at RetentionGrid not only taught me how to build and scale a tech startup, but also the joy of working with an incredibly talented team. I’ll never forget the late nights talking about our GTM strategy over a beer with Kevin, learning a thing or two about our engineering process from Khalid, or coming up with new business ideas during a table tennis match with Jake. He had a habit of being better at both.

Since I’d been getting more involved with the product team in my role as Director of Customer Success, I decided to join the product team at LiveIntent in 2015. In the 2.5 years I was there, I was able to work with people that build their careers at tech giants like Amazon and Oracle, work with organisations like the New York Times and Condé Nast, and ship my products to a user base of over 50 million people.

Something New

After a casual evening catching up with Jake, he convinced me it was time for something new. While I was working at LiveIntent he had started consulting eCommerce businesses, but ended up in the now-booming crypto and blockchain industry. After investing in a few projects he started receiving requests to help out with their marketing. Most of these organisations didn’t have the right skillset to plan their go-to-market or build and retain thriving developer communities for their Web3 platforms.

Over the past three years we built an amazing team of 40 people in 20 countries, working with over 70 organisations on their marketing and communities. In 2019, we launched our non-profit think tank dGen to advance research on decentralisation and emerging tech in Europe, which published 12 reports to date. In 2020 we combined all our projects under the umbrella of Beyond, our venture studio. I’m incredibly proud of our team and what they’ve been able to accomplish in this volatile industry and disruptive time.

Focus on Community

Knowing full well that managed services are hard to scale, 18 months ago Jake and I started designing a product that could help us with the biggest issues we encountered in building communities. We experienced how incredibly challenging it is to grow, engage, and retain your members, and that there’s ample tooling available to manage that.

In this process we consulted Kevin, who’d been running the Exit3x venture studio with Sandy for the past 5 years, and asked him for regular advisory meetings as we started testing our riskiest assumptions. Aside from taking advantage of his insights, it’s been great ‘getting the team back together’. So great, as a matter of fact, that this summer Kevin decided to join us as our third co-founder to build Port. Getting Kevin on board didn’t just allow us to grow faster while taking advantage of his vast experience in the tech space, it also feels like we’ve come full-circle as Beyond and Exit3x are coming together.

Port

With Port we’ve built a tool that helps you grow, engage, and retain your community. Wherever they are. Over the coming weeks I will write more about our vision, why we believe that a product-lead approach is changing the way tech companies go to market, and why building healthy communities is replacing sales teams. In the meantime, please check out Port.

If you’re interested in what we’re doing, or would like to be part of our private beta — feel free to get in touch with me.

Port HQ

Port HQ

Port helps you grow, engage, and retain your community members. Wherever they are. With clever segmentation and our automated Port Score and Community Health Index, you know who to focus on in a heartbeat.

Nick Dijkstra

Written by

Co-Founder & Product at Port • Helping People Navigate Their Community • Loves big ideas

Port HQ

Port helps you grow, engage, and retain your community members. Wherever they are. With clever segmentation and our automated Port Score and Community Health Index, you know who to focus on in a heartbeat.

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