Orbit has raised $15M Series A to enable proactive community teams everywhere

Announcements
May 27, 2021
Patrick Woods
Co-Founder & CEO
Orbit has raised $15M Series A to enable proactive community teams everywhere
Welcome to The Observatory, the community newsletter from Orbit.

I'm Rosie, and I'll be your guide for this mission. Each week I'll go down rabbit holes so you don't have to. I'm here to share tactics, trends and valuable resources I've observed in the world of community building.

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We’ve spent the past 18 months creating software and resources to help companies become proactive and strategic in building high-gravity communities, building the future of community-driven companies alongside you, our own community

Over the past year, Orbit has become community mission control for more than 2,900 users from the more than 1,500 organizations who have onboarded to Orbit. Collectively our users are managing more than 4 million members across their respective communities. 

Needless to say, we’ve learned a lot about the state of community building today, including the daily challenges of thousands of community builders, as well as the strategic role communities can play in businesses. 

Along with our customers and community, we’ve been busy since our seed round last year. We’ve shipped first-party integrations with Discord, Slack, Discourse, Twitter, and GitHub, along with an API and developer platform, allowing anyone to connect Orbit to any of their tools, in addition to 20+ Zapier integrations. We launched Community Built and a community-centric newsletter called The Observatory, and migrated our community from Slack to Discord. We even had a community member translate the Orbit Model into Chinese

Today, in addition to this momentum, we’d like to share some additional news about Orbit and how we’re continuing to build the future of community-driven companies. 

Orbit is now generally available

We're excited to officially announce that the Orbit platform is now generally available. Orbit is mission control for your community, helping you grow and measure your community across all the tools and channels you use — no waitlist required. Signup here.

New tools for proactive community building

Community builders are some of the most thoughtful and creative people we know. But too often, they spend their days split between manual data entry on one hand and responding to squeaky wheels on the other. Today, we’re releasing a series of new features aimed at helping you automate more of your day-to-day to have more time to spend on strategic people and priorities. 

Community Camp is coming June 28 - July 2

Through conversations with thousands of users and hundreds of folks in our own community, we’ve learned that community builders want to learn practical tactics and skills from other builders who’ve been there and done that. 

To meet this need, we’re announcing Community Camp, which will take place June 28th to July 2nd. There'll be sessions each day featuring practitioners and business leaders sharing community-building best practices. We can’t wait to see you ‘round the community campfire. 

We’ve raised $15 million in Series A funding

We have a big vision for how Orbit can help community builders like you—those who understand the power of community—to reimagine the role of community in growing successful organizations. To help us deliver on that vision, we're also announcing that we have raised $15 million in Series A funding. Coatue General Partner Caryn Marooney, who previously ran communications at Facebook and co-founded the OutCast Agency, led the round with participation by previous investors Andreessen Horowitz, Heavybit, and Harrison Metal. Caryn and Martin Casado from a16z are joining the Orbit board. 

Enabling teams to be proactive and move beyond community data chaos

👆 Where do you and your team spend most of your time?


Increasingly companies are making community a critical part of their growth strategy, but the day-to-day reality for community teams at the face of this change is a challenging one. Community is increasingly distributed, with community happening across a growing and complex constellation of platforms. Right now, communities are active across social channels like Twitter, forums like Discourse, chat platforms like Discord or Slack, and first-party tools like mailing lists, in-app messaging, and learning management systems. This has made managing and understanding a community difficult.

What’s more, in speaking with hundreds of companies with communities of all sizes, we’ve learned that all too often, community builders actually spend only a small portion of their time working with their community. Most exist in a state of reactionary fire-fighting, wrangling spreadsheets and browser tabs, and just trying to stay on top of a fragmented and ever-changing set of tools. Meanwhile, executives and revenue teams often don’t have the data they need to understand the business impact that community is making.

This is why we created Orbit as mission control for communities to help teams become proactive while informing their whole company on the impact and ROI of the community. We're now excited to open up the platform to help every community team guide their organization to becoming community-driven.

Doubling down on proactivity

Thanks to the thoughtful feedback of our early adopters, we’re continuously developing the Orbit platform and incorporating popular feature requests. Today in Orbit, we’ve shipped the following improvements and new capabilities:

Dashboard builder

You can now save, store, and organize reports as dashboards in Orbit with our new Dashboard Builder. This enables you to create collections of charts about different data stories. You can pipe data into Orbit from pretty much any platform and start building customizable and shareable dashboards in minutes.

Behavioral segmentation tools

We’re also releasing new behavioral segmentation tools, helping users identify community members who are at risk of churn, one’s who are recently active, and more, along with new capabilities for searching and filtering members and activities, allowing users to ask nuanced questions about their community data.

Zapier app upgrades

We're now an official Zapier partner and we have expanded the capabilities of our Zapier integration, including adding support for triggers, custom activity weights, and identities, making it even more flexible to bring data into Orbit from hundreds of services.

Orbit Model V2

Finally, we’re shipping updates to the Orbit Model, the framework Orbit is built on, enabling insights into the motion of a community and its members by factoring in recency and presence attributes. These changes incorporate what we’ve learned from the 4M members and 16M events recorded on the Orbit platform during beta. We’ll be diving deeper into these changes in an upcoming post.

With the funding we’ve announced, we’ll have even greater resources to accelerate future development. Our roadmap includes surfacing more insights and recommendations, in-app notifications, making it easier to understand your community by highlighting key activities and building out more data integrations as well as powerful tools to enrich and clean that data.

We're hiring

To make this happen, we're growing our team. Right now, we’re hiring engineers, as well as a product designer, with plans to expand the team even further throughout the rest of the year. We're a thoughtful team with a bias for action. Our company is distributed with team members from across the world, and all our roles are remote-friendly. 

If that sounds interesting to you, learn more and apply here.

Thanks

Thanks to everyone who has used Orbit, provided thoughtful feedback, and shared their experiences using the Orbit platform. This includes a long list of folks, including Daniel Madalitso Phiri, Emma-Jade Wightman, James Hawkins, Jeremy Meiss, Johannes Landgraf, John Lafleur, Kurt Temple, Mrugesh Mohapatra, Nicolas Grenié, Nicolas Hourcard, Patrick McFadin, Patrick Sullivan, Peggy Rayzis, Robbie Kruszynski, Stefania Olafsdottir, and Zeno Rocha, and Mary Thengvall.

Together we can drive the strategic role of community to help drive growth. Thank you for coming along on the ride so far; your continued support means the galaxy to us. 💫

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