Building a growth community in India with Ayush Srivastava of Growth Folks ' TechCrunch

As we have been reporting in recent months, Indian startups of all sizes are securing record levels of investment funding and obtaining public exits. We spoke to Ayush Srivastava (co-founder of Growth Folks, a growth marketing agency at Zynga) about the growth behind these numbers.This organization, described as India's largest community for growth enthusiasts, started as an in-person event for growth marketers from major cities. However, it made the leap to online networking during the pandemic. It started an online speaker series, added more community networking groups, virtual events and mentorship for its 1,300 members.The interview below is part of our ongoing series profiling global growth marketers. He says India's startup scene has become more sophisticated in terms of growth in recent years. High-quality user growth is now a shared goal of companies and not a side task. Companies are also thinking creatively about how and where to find users. It is amazing to see how startups are focusing their efforts on India's tier 2 and 3 cities. They are also making sure that rural Indians are addressed with the same speed as internet access. I love that the proper solutions are being found to address the pain points.Editor's Note: This interview was edited to be more concise and clear.Growth Folks is India's largest community for growth enthusiasts with over 1,300 members. What does the term growth enthusiast mean to your?In the Indian startup scene, the terms growth and marketing have gained a lot of popularity in the past five years. There are now more than a million people who want to join this community or already are. As more people began to see their growth issues as more than just marketing their businesses, this had a positive effect. Growth enthusiasts are anyone and everyone who is at least one percent enthusiastic about growing a brand or service.What was the impact of the pandemic on community engagement on the focus and efforts made by Growth Folks?Growth Folks was a strong offline organization in the pre-COVID days. Although we managed and engaged the community online, most of our efforts were made offline. Our success was largely due to the offline activities we organized. We organized over 80+ events in nine Indian cities between December 2018 and the end of 2019. These events used to be panel discussions, industry talks, seminars and followed by networking sessions.However, COVID was introduced and our operations were completely shifted online. I have to say that the transition was smooth and exciting. We began hosting biweekly webinars with industry leaders. This virtual gathering gave our community members (and new attendees!) a glimpse of the actual event so they felt connected.Since lockdown began, more than 25 events have been held and speakers have come from companies such as SEMRush and Zynga. We also started many interesting threads in our Facebook group to encourage more engagement. We also launched our website within the same time frame to provide information about all of our services.We ensure that there are dedicated networking sessions following the webinars to allow people to connect with one another. We relaunched online Brunch Sessions in October 2020. This was before COVID. These brunch sessions allowed fellow community members to get together for a single day to interact and chill with one another virtually. This was a great way to add value and we started creating more online content.TechCrunch will help you find the top growth marketers for startups. We will share your recommendations with everyone by completing this short survey.Growth Folks offers traditional growth marketing services, as well as hosting a hackathon and other community activities. What can startups expect from Growth Folks? What makes it different from other services?We have been able to virtually connect with so many people, and we continue doing so. Book your session now and we'll guide you through the whole process.The mentors that were hired varied in their experience and expertise. They provide the right guidance for startups and individuals to succeed. We have also collaborated with startups and companies to host various online events. This was to promote them and ensure that the right voice gets to the Growth Folks. We have worked with many companies, including Adjust, Rocketium and Canva, and have helped people to learn the right things.What is it that startups are doing better than ever? India? All over the worldCompanies are now realizing how important it is to have a functional growth team. They have also started to recognize the one metric that really matters. Growth marketers are also experimenting and using data to solve problems. Many startups are now thinking outside the box and trying new ways to acquire customers. They aren't limited to traditional methods of acquiring users, which is why so many ideas go viral. All in different ways.Many founders don't limit themselves to just hiring a growth marketer to lead all their growth initiatives. Instead, they spent time learning about the importance of it, and ended up building a full-force growth team that includes PMs, tech people, designers, and others. This is my favorite way to view any growth problem statement.It is amazing to see how startups are focusing their efforts on India's tier 2 and 3 cities. They are also making sure that rural Indians are addressed with the same speed as internet access. I love that the proper solutions are being found to address the pain points.Companies are now more conscious of the importance and value of customer service. This allows brands to easily grow their communities and establish a strong brand presence.