"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up."
I know what it feels like to fall down. Thankfully, I've been blessed to have friends there to help lift me up. I've been working on CavalRe since January this year and if I am 100% honest, I've been enjoying working alone bootstrapping everything from scratch myself. After a painful experience with my last startup, I decided to go as far as I could by myself before reaching out to potential partners / investors. By now, I am completely nerded out and find it fun to set up Kubernetes clusters deploying microservices in Docker containers (running Node / React, Julia) and hooking everything up with secure identity management and persistence layers. However. I was recently convinced to reach out to a few friends to raise a small angel investment to help keep the lights on while I continue to bootstrap with the idea of getting to revenue and a more grown up seed investment later next year.
"When the facts change, I change my mind - what do you do, sir?"
Three months into building CavalRe, COVID-19 hit Silicon Valley (and the world) and life, for a lot of people, changed. This didn't feel like it affected me much because I was in my own little utopia following a dream that had been brewing the last 6 years and happily writing code (surrounded by my kids) knowing the time was right for CavalRe. I was on a mission and felt blessed. Now, here we are going into the holiday season and I am increasing seeing friends impacted by the new reality we find ourselves in.
I know many people in my network have had their careers impacted recently and I feel like it is no longer responsible (or smart) of me to continue being happy in my own little world. So I thought I would write this article with my friends and anyone out there who has been impacted in mind.
Most of us are programmed to follow the well-trodden path. Go to university, find a job, and work your way up the corporate ladder. This formula used to work out pretty well for a lot of people, but I don't know if the formula applies as much today. I am seeing graduates postponing university and I am seeing experienced professionals (even C-level) unable to find jobs. I am the ultimate undeterrable optimist. Even during my darkest days, I never actually worried because I know things will be fine and God has a plan.
This may sound crazy, but I believe we are in an era designed for startups. There is still a lot of money sloshing around the world, but it is increasingly difficult to get money flowing to where it is needed: people. A startup with a good vision and a good team can raise good money even in this environment. That translates to jobs for people.
The two groups of people, fresh graduates and senior professionals, are the two groups that can benefit most from a startup era. Senior professionals bring the experience and legitimacy while fresh graduates bring the passion and fresh perspectives. Startups bring these two groups together in a beautiful way.
If you are an experienced professional who finds themselves looking for a "job", I encourage you to think some crazy thoughts. Think about starting a business. You have more power than you might think. Raising $1M is as difficult as raising $10M and raising $100K can be as difficult (or moreso) than raising $1M so think big. Think crazy thoughts. You can do it.
If you have been impacted by COVID-19 (whether a student or seasoned professional), please feel free to reach out either privately or in the comments below (for access to my network) and I am happy to share some of my experience and help you think through your options. People have lifted me up when I've fallen and I am happy to pay it forward any chance I get.
With that in mind, if you have worked or have an interest in working in reinsurance technology and capital management, please reach out to me and we can discuss opportunities for you with CavalRe. I don't have any particular roles in mind, but I am open to anyone with the right level of desire to make meaningful impacts. I have experience raising capital and I know that getting the right people together can lead to great things.
Take care everyone. I am wishing you and your loved ones happiness and serenity going into the holidays.