On Joining Patron
Welcoming our new Partner, Amber Atherton.
Words By Amber Atherton
From a kid building mini clip games to a teenager managing virtual communities, I’ve always felt at home online, on the cusp of sub-cultures. I’ve experienced first hand the evolution of the creator economy and been drawn to re-imagining relationships between consumers and brands, to democratize access for fans and give people a sense of belonging.
Building communities is a muscle you build as an expat and third culture kid. Growing up in Hong Kong, the UK and the Caribbean, my curiosity led me to convene outliers. On my journey from Y- Combinator start-up founder to Discord leader, I’ve been lucky to learn from others what it means to gather people and build something truly great together. As an angel investor in early-stage consumer and crypto companies, I’ve been fortunate to invest alongside funds I deeply admire like Sequoia, Forerunner, a16z & Variant.
I’m now privileged to have the opportunity to reimagine the relationship between founders (creators) and investors (patrons) with two industry veterans I immensely respect @brianjcho & @jasonoliver. Patron has always appeared to be a startup led by builders and founders, not a firm led by financiers. Whereas the word Patron may have highlighted the financier in the past, a modern interpretation of the word ‘Patron’ would read as shining a light on the founders, builders, collaborators, and fellow participants in the ecosystem.
Over the course of my career as a founder and operator, I’ve honed my expertise as a leader in software that has a distinct community edge. Learning many valuable lessons at both the zero to one stage and the 1,000 person company stage. From how to hire the right people and bring on execs that align with your values and company needs, to how to effectively design sales funnels, and execute on GTM plans. I’m excited to accelerate any founder’s learning path in these areas and connect the dots to extraordinary talent and partners.
When it comes to building a moat around your business, I’ve learned to remember that it’s easier to retain a customer than acquire a new one. And true community can be a very useful tool in turning more users into high frequency users. My forthcoming book The Rise of Virtual Communities, charts the evolution of hanging out online through a series of interviews with the founders of the most iconic virtual community platforms in history. From the very first bulletin board systems to avatar chat rooms, virtual worlds, forums and DAOs. While the technology evolves, consumer behavior remains by and large the same, and history as it so often does, repeats itself. The winners train, play relentlessly, and recognize that luck and the right timing play an important role in outlier levels of success.
I care deeply about founders who care deeply about building for passionate communities. I’m particularly interested in founders building on the frontier of culture, with a strong vision for the future and a clear idea of how they will play a big role in it. If you’re building on the spectrum of play. We’d love to meet you! Reach out via DM on Twitter. More information on the fund and our portfolio can be found at patron.xyz
Follow @amberatherton on Twitter