Seattle startup Common Room emerges from stealth mode with $52M in funding


Common Room founders, left to right: Tom Kleinpeter; Viraj Mody; Francis Luu; and Linda Lian. (Common Room Photo)

The news:Common Room, a year-old startup based in Seattle, is coming out of stealth mode in a big way. The company revealed $52 million in total funding and big-name customers using its software that aims to help companies deepen relationships with their users and customers. GeekWire first uncovered the startup in September just as it was getting off the ground.

The product:The companys tools act as a conduit between organizations and people in their communities. It integrates with communication apps such as Slack, Twitter, Discord, and more. The idea is to make community a competitive advantage, connecting users with each other and soliciting product feedback.

A referral of another user is the best marketing you could ask for. The advocacy of a customer champion is the best sales you could ask for, noted Sarah Guo, partner at Greylock, which led the $32.3 million Series B round.

Early customers: Companies such as Notion and Pulumi are testing a pilot version of Common Room. We have business goals around the engagement level of our community, and we use Common Room to analyze key engagement metrics to help grow the community, said Aaron Kao, vice president of marketing at Seattle-based Pulumi.

The team: Common Room has less than 20 employees and is led by four co-founders:

  • CEO Linda Lian, a former associate at Madrona Venture Group and senior product marketing manager at Amazon Web Services.
  • Chief Architect Tom Kleinpeter, most recently a principal engineer at Dropbox who sold a music streaming startup to the cloud giant in 2012.
  • Design Chief Francis Luu, a designer who spent 10 years at Facebook.
  • CTO Viraj Mody, formerly the engineering director at Dropbox and technical advisor to the CEO at Seattle startup Convoy.

The investors:Index Ventures; Madrona Venture Group; Next Play Ventures; Greylock; 01 Advisors; and a bevy of angel investors including Etsy CEO Josh Silverman; former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo; and former Axiom CEO Elena Donio are among the companys backers.

S. Soma Somasegar, managing director at Madrona who previously worked with Lian, said it was a no-brainer to invest in Common Room. He cited his experience working with the developer community while leading the Developer Division at Microsoft.

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, Somasegar wrote in a blog post.

BHAG:Whats the companys Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Lians post on LinkedIn sheds some light:

People often ask me who is Common Room for? Were certainly for community teams today the oft-unsung heroes who care as much about the how as the what, and are usually the first living, breathing human a practitioner engages with at the enterprise. Today, for these community teams, our beta product offers an immediate and organized window into the who, what, where, why, and how of their communities across Slack, Discord, GitHub, events, private messaging channels, social channels and more. We illuminate what was once a blind spot and also give community leaders improved workflows to be proactive instead of reactive in nurturing their unique and special communities.

Over time, well also be for the product teams, the support teams, the marketing teams, and customer teams who want to stretch their hand out across the organizational boundary of their companies to engage with the people who use their products day in and day out.





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