I first invested in Meetup in 2012, when the company was turning ten. I tripled my investment in 2013. I’ve always been incredibly impressed by CEO Scott Heiferman and the entire Meetup team, and I’ve had the pleasure to watch them scale to over 30 million active members around the world. And I’m confident it’s only the beginning for the global impact of Meetup.
However, I’ve never been prouder of the company then when I opened up this email from Meetup on Monday, February 13th:
Meetup has always served as an organizing platform for a wide range of political views, welcoming everyone from the Howard Deaniacs to the Tea Party. Meetup will always welcome people with different beliefs.
But after the recent executive order aimed to block people on the
basis of nationality and religion, a line was crossed. At a time when core democratic ideals feel under attack, we feel a duty to spark more civic participation.
Last week, we created 1,000+ #Resist Meetup Groups to act as local hubs for actions on behalf of democracy, equality, human rights, social justice, and sustainability. Already 50,000+ people have joined.
These #Resist Meetups are open to anyone who want to create a bright future that’s rich with opportunity and freedom for all.
Meetup exists to connect people so they create opportunity and make the world they want. We hope members take these Meetups forward to be powerful together.
Taking A Stand
This was not an easy choice for Meetup, a company that has always prided itself on inclusion. The company had never before taken a partisan stance.
Like everything at Meetup it all started organically during the election, as Meetups were started to organize members of both parties. Post the election, the company saw an increasing amount of activism on the platform. Most notably, The #Resistance San Francisco Meetup started on January 28th, and passed 1,000 members in two days. They were immediately able to mobilize hundreds of it’s members to go to the SF Airport to protest the Muslim Ban.
So Meetup held an internal Meetup, which any employee could join. At the internal meeting they decided to launch the 1,000 #Resist Meetups. To launch quickly they needed to limit complexities, so they only launched #Resist in English speaking countries to start . After an intense two day sprint, #on February 3rd, #Resist was launched.
Whereas other Meetups all have a “organizers” who are the only people who can schedule a Meetup, #Resist enables any Member to schedule an event. The events are all free. Meetup partnered with some of the leading advocacy groups fighting for woman’s rights, for human rights, for a world that respects everyone:
#Resist Is Scaling Rapidly
As of February 17, the 1,004 #Resist Meetup groups have over 95,000 members. Which means they’ve been adding almost 7,000 members a day since #Resist was launched.
While large blue cities like San Francisco and Chicago already have over 1,000 members to their #Resist Meetups, smaller cities in red states actually have had the highest “join rates” (as defined as the % of people who received an email that joined a #Resist Meetup):
- Des Moines
And it’s not just a U.S. phenomena, # Resist Meetups are in the U.K., Australia, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
As expected, not everyone is happy about #Resist:
But that’s what happens when you take a stance. Meetup knew they were going to make some people angry. Yet they went ahead, putting principles first. As their CEO Scott Heiferman put it “We are Meetup, dammit! We needed to act.”,