We’re very excited to announce a great investment out of our Index Seed Fund. Groupspaces is a company founded by a couple of Oxford grads who have had an entrepreneurial twinkle in their eye from when they were back in school. We met them at a conference, had a coffee, we loved their idea, and a few months later here we are….
What got us interested in this company was 3 things:
(1) The entrepreneurs. David and Andy are smart guys who have built a company that was already near-breakeven with limited funding. Both were very scrappy about how they built the service (Groupspaces is the leading group management service among UK universities) and they did so with minimal resources and on a very tight budget, managing to pull together a strong team. We felt they had a very clear idea about building a monetizable service from the beginning which also offered great value to the consumer.
(2) The space. With the advent of Facebook, Ning, and other social networks, it would seem like there is no room for anyone trying to build site that helps groups manage themselves. The interesting thing is that all of the social networking tools are build to connect people in the “virtual” world. But, as it turns out, human beings still connect (quite a bit!) in the real world. People plan events, belong to societies, fraternities/sororities, have kids soccer (excuse me, football) teams, and church groups. All these “real life” groups have heavy needs around email, calendaring, events management and payments, group databases, etc. It seems like this market had been long forgotten after Yahoo Groups. We thought this was a good market to go after because it had requirements that were different than those of a virtual group
(3) Monetization. It turns out that “real life” groups need to pay for things – tickets, apparel, membership dues, etc. By providing for the ability to make payments for these groups, there is an opportunity to capture a sliver of each transaction. Lots of slivers add up to real revenue. Not to mention that from an advertising perspective, groups are really handy because they are easy to target with specific products or services.
We are also privileged to be joined in this investment with fellow travelers – Dave McClure, Ariel Poler, Chris Sacca, Quincy Smith, Meagan Marks and Simon Levene. Groupspaces is very lucky to have the combined experience of these advisors to count on.
Since we made the investment, the Groupspaces team has introduced their new site and has been accumulating a nicely sized and growing userbase. We have lots more in store as the team expands and we add lots of new features form the diverse needs that groups have. So, if you have a group that needs managing – communication, calendaring, payments, database, or other things.... Give http://www.groupspaces.com a go – you will find a very useful service for your needs.