Editor’s Note: Good Beginnings for Association Startups

Meet three association startups that are looking to set the path for their respective industries.

The stars of the startup economy have names you know: Uber, Lyft, Airbnb. All made Forbes’ list of hottest startups of 2014, alongside Jessica Alba’s eco-friendly consumer goods maker the Honest Company, fantasy sports game provider Draft Kings, and a handful of impressively diverse tech firms.

Aside from their success in attracting boatloads of money last year, these companies have something fundamental in common. In fact, they share that characteristic with countless ventures that have launched, struggled, and eventually failed: According to Neil Blumenthal, cofounder of the socially conscious eyewear startup Warby Parker (speaking to Forbes), “A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed.”

Sound familiar? That describes pretty much every association I’ve ever heard of.

In this issue, we get to know three association startups. The analogy isn’t perfect, but Blumenthal’s description fits. New associations emerge every year because new needs arise. A fledgling industry has challenges that come with a growth surge, and the National Cannabis Industry Association steps up. A technology suddenly has dozens of new practical applications but no clear rules for users, and along comes the Drone Pilots Association. An underrepresented group needs a collective voice to advocate for change, and the Association of Transgender Professionals arrives on the scene.

These three organizations, all five years old or less, are meeting their constituents’ needs in different ways, and success is not guaranteed. But driven by mission and powered by the energy that comes with being young, they’re off and running with purpose. We think you’ll enjoy meeting them. Like startups everywhere, they’ll be fun to watch.


Julie Shoop

By Julie Shoop

Julie Shoop is the Editor-in-Chief of Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!