Creating a community with a focus on quality over quantity isn’t something all communities do. However, that's exactly what Underscore VC focuses on. We talked with Jenni Goodman, Underscore VC Community Manager, on the show to hear how they have built a carefully curated community for their VC firm that serves the Boston area.
The community, called the Underscore Core, is made up of investors, advisors, and founders that Underscore connects together to support one another. Jenni makes a great point in the episode, stating that by focusing on getting quality over quantity members are more likely to refer others to the community - which is exactly what they do.
Underscore has tried many different types of events and have found that the best format for them has been roundtable dinners. They found that this lead to the best conversations with around 8-12 attendees at the event.
They also have an extremely strong incentive for a handful of their most trusted Core Members that have become their “Core Partners”- Giving them a portion of the firms carry, and placing them at the top of their cap table, meaning they get paid out before Limited Partners. This means that founders in the Underscore portfolio enjoy the right expertise, from the right people, and all on Underscore's dime. This is a great way for them to keep people engaged, finding new community members and help companies in their portfolio.
The most powerful thing about their community is that, while they have a small staff, roughly 70%-80% of their portfolio members have come from their community. Even with a large firm the partners and employees only know so many people that could be potential investments. In turn, creating a community is the best way to reach new companies for deal flow!