Why we invested in River

Jun 26, 2024


10 mins

When you pitch a service to a client, and they decline but offer to invest in your company instead, you know you're onto something special.

That's exactly what happened to Rae Lambert, co-founder and CEO of River, a company on a mission to turn online audiences into thriving communities.

When she pitched her marketing services to Jason Calacanis, the American internet entrepreneur and investor famous for his "All-In" podcast with Chamath Palihapitiya, David Sacks, and David Friedberg, he wanted to invest instead.

Shortly after, Balaji Srinivasan, the renowned investor and Web3 entrepreneur, also wanted to get in.

That’s when Rae and her team decided to double down on their community-building magic called River.

6 months later, she presented her startup during a demo day of Jason Calacanis' Launch Accelerator and was voted best startup.

This is where we discovered the team.

We thought we knew the event organization space well. After all, there is Luma and many other tools.

Still, when we dug deeper, we discovered that Rae, her husband, Ryan Lambert, and their colleague Berni Kobos were doing something completely different and, dare we say, revolutionary.

Life is all about the things we have in common

Think of River as an operating system for community building

It's Cult(ure) as a Service.

What do the largest communities have in common? 

They get people all around the world to spread the gospel (sometimes literally) about products, methods, sports, faith, and much more, often without having to pay them a dime.

If someone loves the Apple brand, they'll share their passion like a tech evangelist. 

If you've found inner peace through religion, you'll want to share it and start a group to discuss it. 

If you're Nike, you want people to run, jump, and sweat together while sporting your gear.

The world is built on communities

COVID-19 brought a brutal stop to many real-life activities for almost two years, and loneliness numbers are still higher than before the pandemic.

Also, digitalization increasingly disrupts existing social touchpoints, such as universities or workplaces, where many friendships and relationships have been formed.

If you're an influencer or a brand, you want people to talk about you, share their experiences, and spread the word about your products. 

But organizing a community? 

It's like herding cats - adorable but a total nightmare. The key is to scale while retaining the quality of your mission. It's not easy.

This is where River comes in. 

The River platform makes it easy

River is a SaaS platform designed to massively reduce the workload for brands and influencers organizing and orchestrating global communities.

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It helps you find the right local representatives (read: super fans) to manage local events while ensuring guidelines are followed. 

You can create 100+ branded events with a fraction of the effort it would take if you used traditional meeting tools.

Bryan Johnson already uses River to organize his “Don’t Die” longevity mission. 

Jason Calacanis uses it to orchestrate local events for his “This Week in Startups” and “All-In” podcasts.

If the Catholic Church had been founded today, we believe they would use River as their operating system to run their global flock. And this is just the beginning.

The blockchain angle

Physical meetings are crucial for talking to developers and creating momentum for new blockchains and applications, especially in the crypto world. 

NFTs can serve as gatekeepers to grant entry to certain events, and wallets carrying specific credentials can supercharge the recruitment process of local hosts. 

And there is a lot more to come.

The amazing team

We immediately liked the River team. 

They execute super fast, have the right mix of talents, and don’t hesitate to pursue big players to bring them into their camp.

And we have to admit: We have a thing about female founders and CEOs and have had wonderful experiences with them, like Shail at Gameboard or Fleur at Proof.

And if you are a brand owner or an influencer, you should definitely talk to these folks.

Visit getriver.io to learn more.

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