Introducing Common Magic

Sarah Drinkwater
2 min readJun 5, 2023

Today, I’m launching an early-stage solo fund focused on products with community at their core.

In the next few years, Common Magic will back 30–35 startups in Europe and the US, ideally in the first or second rounds, with typical check sizes of £100K–150K. The fund will be generalist but focused on companies across all sectors where “community” is the moat.

But why? Why this and why now?

As a fund, Common Magic is anchored on three beliefs I’ve come to over time.

Firstly, that the next wave of incredible companies will be powered by communities.

Looking at Europe alone, many of the most successful startups and scaleups here built by focusing on creating and serving groups of true believers; think Miro, Monzo, Hugging Face, Depop, Sorare or Unity.

These are companies operating in different spheres and speaking to different audiences who leverage a common ethos to variously build trust, win loyalty, get great product feedback, enable their customers to improve or make money using their tools and ultimately created compelling moats.

It makes sense.

Advertising can work well for many companies but it’s expensive. Attribution is hard.

In a downturn, companies that build with their users, customers or wider ecosystem (rather than for them) can be more resilient.

The second belief is there’s been a Cambrian explosion of interest in “community” but still very few playbooks on how to do it well, whether you’re creating incentive mechanisms for developers, shaping governance forums within DAOs or launching a strategic series of events to surface great consumer product feedback.

If you know me, you’ll know that building ecosystems around products has been a long-term passion and my focus for the last 15+ years as an operator and the last few as an angel investor.

So the third belief is that small funds can be deeply useful to founders if they bring a distinct specialism. Common Magic will never be the largest investor in your round but intends to weave the speed and style of an angel with a global network and deep knowledge in this very specific space of how to build an authentic and effective community around your product.

And what does the fund name mean?

Many compelling products and new technologies come with a-ha moments; like the first time I entered a prompt on Midjourney or pressed a button on Uber and a taxi came around the corner. It feels like magic. The future slides into view. But under the surface, anyone who has worked on teams enabling this kind of leap forwards knows nothing happens by magic — it happens when brilliant people come together. The name honours group labour and the power of alignment.

Founders, I hope to help you make magic.

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Sarah Drinkwater

Solo GP Common Magic, investing in products with community at their core. Into communities, the best uses of technologies, London, looks and books.