An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Alexa Kade (co-founder and CEO) of Clowder, which was honored in our:
- 2022 Best Tech Startups in Alexandria
- 2021 Best Tech Startups in Alexandria
- 2020 Best Tech Startups in Alexandria
- 2019 Best Tech Startups in Alexandria
- 2018 Best Tech Startups in Alexandria
Tell us the origin story of Clowder – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
We were approached by an organization that was looking to build a dedicated mobile space for their members to connect. It’s not the most glamorous story – it wasn’t in a dark room, or on the back of a napkin, but it’s all just the same. From that conversation, we got to thinking. We saw a glaring gap in what was available to the market, which translated to an obvious need. At the time, there wasn’t anyone else doing what we set out to do. We quickly realized how much people value being part of a community and something bigger than themselves. Clowder from day one has always been purpose driven and about connection. Our goal was to make Clowder the best private social network for groups to easily engage with one another at any time.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
Educating the market on the need for Clowder was a big task. We had to sell organizations on the need for building dedicated mobile environments for their members while proving why websites and social media could not provide the same experiences. Convincing groups who may traditionally be slower to change that they need to keep up with engagement demands proved to be difficult at times. We also initially struggled with defining our overall process. What was the magic recipe that would make not just Clowder successful but also the markets we serve?
What does the future hold for Clowder?
The sky is the limit. Outside of just serving associations, we see opportunities for universities, alumni networks, nonprofits reaching an underserved audience, talent acquisition and recruitment, corporate culture and engagement, and so much more. Not to take a page out of Mark Zuckerberg’s playbook, but Clowder has the potential to be its own metaverse, creating connection, purpose, and alignment with the world in which we live.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Alexandria?
We’re not Silicon Valley or Austin, but we’re onto something here. There’s a lot of opportunity for Alexandria to compete with these other locations for top talent and market share beyond just the government space. Top universities, pro-business legislation, and the movement of large companies like Amazon make the area attractive for tech.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be creative, think outside of the box, don’t give up. Be honest in what you’re doing and building. While passion, commitment, and sweat equity are all part of the equation, so is failing and pivoting/learning from those failures (transparency goes a long way). Own your mistakes and share your successes with the team. Be prideful but don’t let pride ruin you. Always give credit where credit is due.