Like most early founders, two and a half years ago when we were first dreaming up what Differential could become, I thought we had a pretty clear picture of where we’d be in few years. Like most entrepreneurs, I was wrong.
I definitely didn’t anticipate it taking us every bit of two years to find true focus, but even if I had, not sure I’d change much. Why? 1) It has been a rewarding and educational journey (more on that below) and 2) we’ve got an awesome opportunity, team and plan to run hard (truly believe we’re just getting started).
Like most stories, to really understand where we’re going, you need to understand where we’ve been. We’ve shared some of that story here and here, over the last few years as we’ve continued to find our way, but I would summarize the whole journey as the following.
Since first bringing our model to life in early 2013 we’ve raised and deployed just over a half million dollars from a handful of smart and forward-thinking investors who were interested in pursuing the Venture Studio model with us. If we were a venture firm, we’d say that Fund I is deployed and we’re now actively supporting our portfolio and building as much value as we can. Also the path forward would be clear; go raise Fund II.
Since we’re not a traditional VC, we took some time to really weigh our options and decided there were two realistic paths forward:
Option A: continue pursuing the Venture Studio model by raising a bigger pot of money to give us more at bats (i.e. raise Fund II).
To do this, we’d need pretty compelling evidence we can pick winners and execute. So what’s our track record? While still early, we’ve got a great portfolio (Cladwell, Liquid, USERcycle, Earthineer), with a ton of promise. We don’t have an exit, or even a company to Series A yet, but early results are positive.
In case you haven’t figured it out by the new site launched today or by Ry’s recent blog post, we chose Option B. Ry and Greg have been 100% focused on USERcycle full-time since late last year and the rest of the team is 100% focused on building Differential the Development Studio.
While nothing is ever certain or permanent, I can tell you I’ve never seen our collective team more motivated and focused. I believe this is our new reality for the foreseeable future and we’re energized by the vision! This is our highest-potential opportunity to continue to help Rapidly Unlock Value for Good People with Meaningful Ideas (our mission).