Reinventing Community Building - Interview with Startups of the Year Nominee, Frensby@frens
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Reinventing Community Building - Interview with Startups of the Year Nominee, Frens

by frens place, incJune 28th, 2023
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Frens has been nominated in HackerNoon's annual Startup of the Year awards in Los Angeles, CA US. Vote for us here: < Read more about us below to understand why we deserve your vote.
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Hey Hackers,

Frens has been nominated in HackerNoon's annual Startup of the Year awards in Los Angeles, CA USA!

Please vote for us here:

Read more about us below to understand why we deserve your vote.

Are you participating in SOTY 2023? If so, click here to fill out this interview.

Meet Frens

Frens is the first scalable community marketing platform for brands that allows community managers to have full control over what the community discusses and when.

The results are clear:

  • More meaningful dialogue between your business and your customers
  • Community members never miss key business announcements
  • Continuous community engagement without 24/7 community management
  • Better visibility into member contributions
  • Get analytics, increase engagement, create automation, and prove ROI
  • Increase brand awareness, conversions, and retention

My Role

I am the CEO of Frens. I started working on this after having helped a number of Web 3 projects grow through community - and watched the community managers and mods suffer in a myriad of Discord servers. I ended up getting a residency with the Stacks Foundation, and that propelled me to start Frens.

We were originally Web3 focused on top of Discord, trying to allay the difficulties that community managers had, but as we saw the bigger picture we realized that Discord had a host of problems - from scaling to spam, security, to developer relationships, to signal-noise issues - so we are building our own scalable and safe new solution for virtual community management and growth that won’t require having a 24/7 chat room to maintain and secure.

How We're Disrupting Community Building

We will eliminate all the problems with existing community platforms - especially Discord and Slack:

  • Labor-intensive 24/7 moderation/engagement

  • Members miss notifications

  • SPAM + scams rampant in Discord

  • Inability to scale

  • Complexity and usability issues

  • Social media platforms fall short for communities

  • No data, not brand-ready

Standing Out from The Crowd

Our platform is like no other, but we are still in stealth mode so you will have to sign up for our newsletter/waitlist and wait until later this summer to find out.

Our Predictions/Thoughts on the SaaS Marketing Industry in 2023

In many ways, this sector hasn’t changed much in the last decade, primarily focusing on SEO, digital ads, and social media marketing. But a couple of recent technologies are converging to massively disrupt how marketing is done online.

Whatever you think of crypto and Web3, projects used communities to market their product and showed us the power that communities can have in accelerating growth. These communities, when done right, were at the heart of all successful Web 3 projects. Think of BAYC and other NFTs, Friends With Benefits, and similar DAOs as a couple key examples. Non-Web 3 projects have been watching, and while the tools are nascent, they will be a powerful mechanism to capture the people who love their project, as well as key influencers in their space, and incentivize them to engage the network effect.

Additionally, AI is bringing all kinds of new ways to ease content creation, ensure a better user experience, and make sense of data and patterns that we are only beginning to understand. Successful digital marketing teams will be utilizing AI to ease the friction of gaining new customers, provide a better experience for existing customers, and to do new things that we haven’t even conceived of it.

And these two technologies used together can be powerful indeed.

What word defines the state of Digital Marketing in 2023?

Calm (before the storm).

I don’t think that most marketing teams - even the most sophisticated and innovative - can only have a fuzzy view of how this market will be transformed. Many are using tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney to do all sorts of things from creating content to drafting strategies and whatnot. But these are just raw tools at this point - when AI tools are integrated into the software we need and use when they are trained on relevant data, and when they advance further it is going to radically change how we work and operate on all planes - but digital marketing is for sure going to be hit pretty hard.

And that’s not all. Anyone who has been doing digital marketing knows that it’s become pretty formulaic. SEM/SEO and search ads don’t have nearly the power they used to as targeting has become broader and restrictions have been put in place, not to mention the competition. Social media marketing has also become noisy and targeting broader after the pushback on privacy. Influencer marketing doesn’t have the power it used to as influencers have, well, lost their influence in many ways. It’s tough to stand out anymore.

So looking at it from a distance, it really does appear like nothing is happening. But rest assured…it is. A year from now this will be an entirely different world.

Why we decided to participate in HackerNoon's Startup of the Year awards

I have been an avid reader and, sometimes, a contributor to Hackernoon for a number of years. I appreciate their approach. And, quite frankly, I have no idea who nominated us! I thought it would be a fun ride and an interesting way to get the word out about what we are building, see what others are building, and learn something.

Final Thoughts

Community marketing works. But managing a 24/7 chat room in tools like Discord sucks. Plain and simple. We are going to change that. Sign up for our mailing list, vote for us, and reach out any time - I would love to hear your stories, good and bad, of community marketing.