Trust and Transparency (Update #1)
It is a real honor to send out the first official investor update for Footprint to our first supporters. I want to start by thanking you for your belief in our idea. We know the road ahead won’t be straightforward, and likely littered with bumps along the way. But we can’t wait to continue down that path, inspired by the incredible team of early backers behind us.
Trust and Transparency
I wanted to write this first update about trust and transparency, the two key virtues I have outlined as critical to our company’s success. But before describing the trust we hope to build, I thought it was important to cover what we are not looking to build: an idealistic hope that trust will naturally be created. “Hope is cruel, and has no conscience,” writes Carlos Ruiz Zafon in my favorite novel, Shadow of the Wind. It’s a beautiful quote, but a strange one—Zafron spends most of the book preaching hope’s powerful message; it transforms not only the life of the protagonist, but also the lives of those around him. It is the story of a boy growing up in post-WWII Barcelona, where his discovery of a flicker of hope (in the form of a forgotten book) lets him grow up, find love, and rediscover the memory of his lost mother. When I initially read the book, I was confused: why would Zafron mention in such a hopeful story an ultimately cautionary note? I’ve now started to hear his warning more and more clearly: it is important to have a goal, but you can’t get so lost in it that you forget to actually travel the road to get there.
We want to build a company that resurrects the faith users once had that the internet works for, not against, us. Footprint can change the relationship we currently have with the digital age. If we don’t do it, I worry about a rise in identity theft causing people to lose trust with services that could have helped us live better and longer lives. This is because those services require us to share our data, but many correctly feel the internet had lost that right. The time is now to act, and to build. We are not entitled to people’s trust—we must earn it every day.
I remain steadfast in my hope that Footprint becomes the passport (with visa stamps) to the internet. But for now, it is more important to simply be obsessed with the infrastructure layer we are building. Encrypting identity data at rest does not predict disease or give people more equitable credit scores, but it is a critical step to getting there. Hope becomes dangerous when it distracts from the present. It is important to be stubborn about our vision, but we must be flexible in how we get there. Because we can’t assume our vision will instantly be embraced. Rather we must build each step along the way with our direct customers and the consumers they serve.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for believing in us. I’ll end by quoting one of my inspirations, Avicii, on hope. Like Zafon, Avicii buries lyrical warnings amidst hopeful melodies. I believe we can change the relationship people have with the internet and the companies that serve them. And that cautious hope will guide us to building the trust we seek;
Cause it’s not too late, it’s not too late
I see the hope in your heart
And sometimes you lose and sometimes you’re shooting
Broken arrows in the dark
But I see the hope in your heart.
Let’s do this,
- The round is all but closed and we now have the funds to meaningfully scale team and product
- We have functioning servers on AWS, payroll/benefits on Rippling, a corporate card, Notion, and other tools. We’re happy to report back on our favorites and up-and-coming tools we come across for any diligence we can be helpful with :)
Goals For the Next Month
- End the month with two hired employees
- Have a new website
- Make meaningful progress on product
- Have 10 productive conversations with possible customers
Where We Could Use Help
- We want to hire A+ team members, which is not a unique goal for a tech company
- More specifically, we are looking for (distributed) systems engineers, data infrastructure engineers, design engineers, and mobile developers
We are especially light right now on UI/UX engineers
- We are hybrid from the start and flexible on location—we will hire the best people wherever they are
- Any warm intros or leads would be greatly appreciated here. We are attaching to the email job descriptions for each of the roles which you’re more than free to share with your network or candidates you may know
- We would love to speak with companies who could be good fits for our product
- We think there is a balance as to when to start these convos—we don’t want to get someone excited and then set unrealistic timelines/not deliver. Our somewhat ambitious goal for the year is to be able to demo by summer and deploy by EoY. However, we think it is never too early to start exploratory convos, and can bring in the most excited companies as design partners to get first integrations
- To help here, I am attaching a few templates that can be used to send to any companies, as well as what we believe what the early target customer looks like
- We are hosting a happy hour this Wednesday in NYC. If you know of any talented engineers in the city we would love to meet them!!!
Note: Some content has been removed from the bottom half of the update to protect privacy of individuals/companies involved.
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