Founding a startup can be a lonely journey. Sure, you may have a team and your own small support group of family and friends, but what about the time when you puzzle over questions related to funding, growth, marketing and hiring? Luckily, as in the case of many modern problems, the internet comes to the rescue with various online startup communities.
Online communities that offer answers to specific startup questions abound on the internet. They not only answer your queries but also help you make connections and give you social stimulus to interact, all together. From the most mundane to the most complex startup problems, there’s a community discussion for it.
We present to you the best online startup communities where you can hang out and discuss your most burning startup problems as well as garner meaningful feedback:
The world’s largest social networking site boasts of a number of groups for startups and entrepreneurs. You can filter groups according to industry and location. Remember, some of the best groups are closed and only allow certain members to join. Such groups are better curated and allow for better discussion and block spam. If you want to interact with a close circle of entrepreneurs, choose the right Facebook Groups and you’re good to go. Some of the groups worth checking out include Startups, Angels & VCs, European Startup Community, Growth Hackers and Startup Pirates Global. While you’re at it, you can also take a look at our very own group for StartupBlink’s Registered Startups where entrepreneurs can connect with each other.
Although built as a real time messaging app for teams, Slack is fast gaining momentum as a great place for startup founders to hang out. Slack channels such as #startup by Startup Foundation, Online Geniuses and Founded X have a large network of entrepreneurs and founders that you can share startup notes with.
As the name suggests, GrowthHackers is a community for all things startup growth. This includes all aspects such as social media marketing, blog, sales, ecommerce, etc. Members in the community can post anything as long as it satisfies the caveat of “making the community better”. You can also ask the community questions about the description of growth hacking and emerging and declining growth channels. If you’re looking to study growth studies of successes such as Etsy, Slack and Spotify, GrowthHackers has them documented. Any community would of course be incomplete without the mandatory AMA sessions, so you can expect to find growth hacking gurus like Nir Eyal, James Altucher and Peter Shankman frequently hosting such sessions on the website.
You may know Reddit as the front page of the internet, but it is an incredibly useful community when it comes to startups too. Whether you’re looking to garner honest feedback on your latest app or learn from other entrepreneurs’ experiences, Reddit has a place for it all. Subreddits such as Side Projects and Startup allow you to showcase your startup to the community. If you’re already running a small business, consider checking out Small Business and Entrepreneur for solutions to problems you might face. For startup informations specific to your location, there are subreddits for different cities and countries such as London and Toronto. Finally, remember that Reddit has a strong aversion to spam (a fact I learnt the hard way), so if you’re here merely for self-promotion, it won’t help. On the other hand, it’s no-spam policy also makes it one of the few communities where you can expect to read thoughtful, quality posts without having to plough through a lot of meaningless links.
Started by Y-Combinator, Hacker News is a place to discuss startups and technology. While similar to Reddit, it is much more focused and geared towards startups that well invested in and present in Silicon Valley. Making it to the front page of Hacker News is considered a big deal, owing to its strict community guidelines and focus on quality posts. You can quiz fellow community members about anything startup related on the Ask HN tab, while receiving feedback on the Show HN tab.
While not specifically built for startup interactions, groups on LinkedIn and Google can provide you with much needed proximity to entrepreneurs online and offline. The groups can be closed as well as open, but again the former are better curated than the latter. Try to join groups that have strict posting guidelines, so as not to be flooded with spam, but meaningful discussions. Some of the groups we found especially interesting include Coworking Group on Google and Startup Specialists, On Startups and Cloud & SaaS Startups on LinkedIn.
While most communities aim for growth, QUIBB has an acceptance rate of 42% for new members. While the premise is the same as communities such as Reddit, the QUIBB community consists of select group of entrepreneurs and executives from companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google. If accepted to the network, you can expect to receive top news and analysis about your industry shared with you on a daily basis.
Quora is the place to ask questions about anything under the sun; from climate change and nuclear physics, to sitcoms and books. But apart from being a general Q&A site, Quora is also a great place to seek startup advice and learn from the pros. Owing to its high emphasis on quality, you can expect to receive actionable and often reliable advice. What’s more, you can also reach out to VCs and seasoned entrepreneurs with questions related to startups. Some of the best bloggers and influencers frequently answer questions on Quora and dole out startup advice. Apart from receiving startup advice, you can also build your personal brand on Quora, by writing high quality answers. Top writers on Quora can build a loyal following for themselves and their startup.
If you’re a product enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of Product Hunt. If not, it may be worth checking out this website that shares and discusses about the best and latest apps, websites and technology in general. Product Hunt is not limited to apps alone, it also features separate tabs for games, books and podcasts. What’s interesting is that invites are only granted to the most active members,so if you’re here simply to promote and not participate in the community, you can’t. If you’re looking to seek feedback and traction for your startup, then Product Hunt is just the place. Other features of Product Hunt that startup founders might find helpful include Meetups, Product Hunt Radio, and Live Chats with entrepreneurs.
While not a traditional community, FounderDating is a great tool for entrepreneurs to find a cofounder. FounderDating allows you to network with entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts and experts in different fields. In order to maintain the balance between business and technical talent, it only accepts a select group of people in the community. There is a nominal fee if you wish to get access to their online and offline network and discussions.
Geared towards the nomadic entrepreneur, Startuptravels allows you to meet with entrepreneurs in over 160 countries. As part of the community, you also get access to 30+ coworking spaces all over the world. If you’re looking to share your travel experiences and interact with founders across the globe, this community is for you.
We hope you find these communities helpful in navigating the complex road that founding a startup can be. While you’re at it, we urge you to check out the closed community we’re building at StartupBlink. It is our endeavor to connect entrepreneurs all over the world and provide them a platform to interact with each other.