It’s been two years since I bought Mobilize.
Back then, I said I thought community software was dead. I still think it’s dead. The number of people I’ve met who said, “We got burned by community software,” is staggering.
I’ve been working in or near the community and collaboration space for 26 years– it’s not keeping up with the times.
I was guilty of the first two problems at Jive. Our platform was scattered across lots of use cases. We got away with it because the category hadn’t solidified, there was less competition, and the needs were simpler. Mobilize was a bit of a mission for me. Not only about how to transform a company from “stuck” to breakout, but how to take a community platform and turn it into a true solution – to go from vitamin to aspirin.
I’ve spent the last two years rearchitecting the business, building a great team, and focusing our efforts on areas where we can be the best in the world. It was finally time to put some cash in to help it achieve its destiny.
As a very bootstrappy entrepreneur, I don’t like raising a lot of money. But our plan was working. And I want to prove that we (and community) can transform organizations for good. It was time to take things up a notch.
So we raised a $6M A Round from Sorenson and Kickstart. I wanted to work with great investors who I trust to have the company’s best interests in mind. And I got that in both firms. They’ve been exceedingly supportive and I’m thrilled to be working with them.
Team: We now have a smart, experienced, hard-working and kind group of people, including several from the Jive days. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by these amazing humans.
Industry Focus: We work with distributed sales organizations, professional networks, associations and nonprofits. We are more of a “private LinkedIn” than a Facebook. This focus allows us to go deep on industry expertise, deliver outcomes, integrate with the right systems and be a valuable partner. No developer networks, brand loyalty or support communities. We stay true to our core.
Strategic Services: We emphasize doing the right thing for our customers. This has been a strong differentiator for us and we will continue to invest in services to live up to our promise and drive real results.
Product: We are setting a high bar to make our product more extensible and flexible, easier to scale, more solution-focused, more intelligent and more automated. But perhaps the most aspirational is to advance the ideas of what community represents in this era, given the problems noted above. This means embracing other content systems and not trying to duplicate them, and ultimately taking the concept of community up a level. This is a high bar and we will need strong collaboration with customers, partners and even competitors. The industry needs to shift and it will be a long hard process.
Can we crack the code and get a community solution to be beloved by community managers AND execs? To embed ourselves deeply into the organization and drive real outcomes? That’s the goal – to use belonging and purpose to transform organizations.
I’ve been honored to work with some amazing, world-changing organizations. And I sincerely look forward to helping more as we enter the next phase of Mobilize.