UNSENT to Reid Hoffman
I penned this as we were getting ready to raise our pre-seed round for Worthee. We ended up with $1.2M from 25 different individuals for which we were very grateful and appreciative. I had a strong sense that Reid Hoffman, founder of Linked In, would be incredibly supportive of our efforts at Worthee. When I ran this letter by a couple of people who know both Reid and me well, the advice was don’t send it (maybe it was the mention of gout?!) Of course, he won’t read it here either, so putting it up on my blog for a few of you to see can’t hurt. Feedback always welcome.
April 9, 2019
I’ve spent years, literally, preparing to write this letter. The only other person I spent as much time preparing to meet was Howard Schultz… I wrote to him relentlessly (the paper letter kind) from 1997-2003 before finally meeting with him. He’s been an important mentor to me ever since.
Reading Blitzscaling and your other books as well as listening to most of the episodes of Masters of Scale were incredibly informative. However, it was the short videos on The Brief, and especially the clip “2 Ways To Meet Reid Hoffman”, that were the final straw to motivate me to reach out. As it turns out, Worthee, our start-up, does have the two key elements you mentioned:
- Networks ✅
- Bold and contrarian ✅
I’ve attached our deck that has further details, but since many make similar claims, here are the salient points:
- Worthee’s mission is to empower low-wage workers to thrive.
- More than half of the workforce in the US are low-wage workers that don’t make a livable wage. The top 10% of income earners in the US have now surpassed the bottom 90% and the trends are de-stabilizing and unsustainable.
- One of the root problems is what we at Worthee call the “information gap” – low-wage workers aren’t getting the information (education, job performance feedback, career counseling, and even mental health treatment) they need to improve and take control of their futures. In fact, trillions of dollars of value have been created helping white collar workers be more productive to the benefit of themselves and their employers, but the low-wage workforce has been left behind.
- Now that low-wage workers all have smartphones, there is an opportunity to level the playing field. The Worthee app will close the information gap (and ultimately shrink the income gap of many countries) by delivering low-wage workers the information they need to improve.
- In spite of the common business viewpoint that the low-wage workforce is commoditized and “unworthy” of focus, we believe we can build a massive business and cause positive global socio-economic change by empowering the 1 billion+ low-wage workers around the world.
- The Worthee MVP was released in 2018 to a pilot group of over 300 low-wage workers with incredible engagement.
- The Company has been financed to date by the founders and we’re raising a $1M seed round for engineering and marketing to nail down product/market fit.
In terms of network effects, the Worthee platform has several: 1) direct – each additional user creates additional value for all other users, 2) two-sided marketplace – jobs / recruiting – employees and employers, and 3) we plan for Worthee to become the standard public profile for low-wage workers.
Switching subjects, but perhaps most importantly, a mutual friend shared not long ago (because I was talking about it) that you suffer from the same affliction I do… gout. I’ve written a lot on gout… as you know, it can be crippling and demoralizing, and yet, finally, I’ve found a combination that is working better than anything I’ve come across in my 17 years since being diagnosed with this “king’s disease”. This is not an infomercial for gout, but when we meet, it’s Worthee of discussion. I’m determined to beat it, as I’m sure you are too.
My co-founder Kevin and I will be in the Bay Area from May 10 – May 15, and if you happen to have time to meet in person, we would be so greatly appreciative. Please let me know how we can coordinate.
I’ll look forward to hearing back from you,