Our core strategy at Madrona is to partner with the best in-class entrepreneurs working on solving huge problems using technology and be there from Day One for the long run. This often means that we engage with entrepreneurs even before they start a company. That is exactly what happened with Common Room and Linda Lian, and the co-founding team she ultimately brought together including engineering co-founders Tom Kleinpeter and Viraj Mody, and Product cofounder Francis Luu.
Linda has a long-standing relationship with Madrona. Linda was an investor at Madrona just a few years ago. I had the opportunity to work with Linda then and she stood out both for her curiosity and ability to learn fast, as well, as a strong empathy and focus on customer advocacy. After spending a tour of duty as an investor at Madrona, Linda moved on to Amazon and was in product and marketing across several AWS services where she had a chance to further hone her product, business, and customer skills. After doing that for a few years, Linda started thinking about solving a problem that she saw existed in how companies (small and large) were engaging with their community of customers.
When Linda started talking to us about the fact that she was noodling on ideas to potentially start her own company, it was absolutely a no-brainer for us at Madrona to want to lean in, invest in Linda’s company and be a part of the company and the journey from Day 1. That’s precisely what Dan Li and I did.
The problem space also resonated with me deeply given my background and experience in working with the 10M+ developer community while I was heading the Developer Division at Microsoft as well as how our companies now foster community. As the person overseeing what we did at Microsoft with the developer community, I had a deep appreciation for what our customer community can do for our platform and by extension everything that gets built on the Microsoft platform. At the time we had a ton of home-grown tools to help us (barely) manage, respond, and take feedback.
The awareness and importance of community to start ups has increased as companies build products based on open source with a developer audience and as end-users become more tech savvy and ready to interact directly with the company regardless of the product. And the tools these companies use have grown from simple messaging systems to a complex web of channels from Slack to Discord to Intercom, and likely more than one of those. Figuring the signal from the noise has never been tougher, or more important. Those experiences collectively made it crystal clear that there is a huge demand and pain point that Linda is looking to tackle and we were so excited to help her and the team build.
In the year since Linda started her company, it has been an immense pleasure to see how Linda continues to learn and grow at a rapid pace. She continues to keep customers at the center while bringing together a high caliber team, retaining the clarity of the product and the user experience focus, and attracting great investors to be a part of Common Room. And she does it all with a big smile and her distinctive laugh.
Common Room’s mission is to enable a new type of relationship with their customers based on authenticity, collaboration, and community. The core value propositions for Common Room include:
- Seamlessly build, nurture and scale communities and influencers through engagement
- Knowledge organization and retention as communities are great at helping each other
- Share product feedback to relevant internal teams in near real-time and enable more inclusive, more intelligent roadmap decisions
- Enterprise-grade capabilities including seamless administration, security, privacy, etc.
Today, Common Room is coming out of stealth mode with their early MVP release of their offering with an incredibly exciting set of customers already on board. These customers including Coda, Pulumi, Notion, Figma and the like all have a few things in common – products and services in hyper-growth mode that are seeing a tremendous amount of scale in their customers and communities and are primarily driven by product led growth with specific emphasis on developer (including open source) and maker communities.
For all the great progress leading up to today, I continue to remind myself that this is just the beginning and we are excited to see what Linda and team will do with Common Room and by extension the billions of customers and communities around the world. Truly excited to be a part of this journey with Linda and the entire Common Room team.
To read more about Common Room please see www.commonroom.io and Common Room, Community Management Startup Used By Confluent, Figma And Notion, Launches With $52 Million In Funding.