I originally shared this document with investors and friends on February 2nd, 2021 and was later accompanied by a tweet thread.
- In April 2020, motivated by the search to multiply the impact I saw at my previous job (Head of Growth at Microverse), I set out to build a "Stripe for ISAs" (initial name: Align) to make it easy for startups to launch and scale income share agreements.
- My biggest assumption was that removing the operational complexities and overhead of launching ISAs would unlock a "hidden" demand: entrepreneurs that would launch ISA-focused business models. I believed this had clear venture-scale potential.
- In retrospect, the above assumption was not supported: the operational complexities and overhead are not restricting a venture-scale market for ISA infrastructure.
- I learned the big initial barrier for an entrepreneur considering launching ISAs was information, not software. For the majority of the time spent working on the "Stripe for ISAs", we misinterpreted data validating the former as data validating the latter.
- Even with information, more B2C education entrepreneurs are not launching businesses with ISA-focused business models because traditional business models have higher expected returns for traditional education models.
- Without conviction in a potential venture-scale outcome or primary desire to prioritize that search for one with a different idea, I'm dissolving the Align Global Inc. entity, returning the remaining capital, and moving on to consulting for global B2C education startups.
I fell in love with the problem that "It's too hard to launch and scale ISAs."
- I left my previous job at Microverse (YC S19) in February 2020 to explore problems and markets in the future of learning and work. The question driving my curiosities was: how can I accelerate the democratization of opportunity I saw at Microverse?
- As I iterated on ideas, I found other startups, founders, and industry stakeholders echoed a problem I witnessed at Microverse: it was a pain to create internal infrastructure for ISAs.
- In April 2020, I set out to build the "Stripe for ISAs" (initial name: Align) to make it easy to launch and scale ISAs in-house to maintain the original incentive structure. My up-close experience with global ISAs and billing APIs gave me a unique advantage to understanding the problem and building a solution.
❗ I use "ISA" and "ISAs" to collectively refer to any outcome-contingent payment agreement or payment plan.
I came to the wrong conclusion—that there was a huge, growing market need for tools to launch ISAs—because I used vanity metrics.
- I assumed removing the operational complexities of ISAs would unlock a demand of entrepreneurs wanting to launch outcome-based business models.