Today marks my last day at the company I cofounded, Fountain. This is the note that I shared internally with the team in December:
As you all know by now, I'll be leaving Fountain at the end of 2017.
I write this note with a deep sense of pride at how far we've come in such a short time. Ironically, yesterday marked 3 years of Keith and I officially working together on what was first called OnboardIQ.
When OnboardIQ first started, the times were tough.
Keith and I - neither technical - were building and selling software to technology companies. We - a new grad and dropout - were competing against two Stanford MBAs with a better product and a huge head start with a customer list that dwarfed ours. And when Intuit swooped in to buy them and started giving away their software for free (and even going the extent of literally paying our customers to switch), we felt lost. From day one, we had been completely and utterly broke, surviving off McDonald's dollar menus and frozen dumplings.
The odds have never been on our side - we have always been the underdogs.
And yet, with a combination of impossible persistence and thick skin, we persisted, worked hard, and outlasted the rest.
Now, I know that this is the thousandth time you've heard this story. And if this is the first, let's find a time to go through our company's history together, as it's fun for me to recount our origins. But the reason I bring this up today is that I believe this is the story that truly embodies the ethos of our team.
Today, we are no longer OnboardIQ, an ATS for on-demand companies, but Fountain, the hiring platform built for speed and scale. We are no longer 2 scrappy young guys, but a team of 30+ talented, motivated individuals who support and challenge one another. Our work is powering bigger and bigger companies, impacting more and more workers worldwide, and (thankfully) we now have a bit more cash in the bank than we used to.
When I try to describe the team we've become, this is what I think of:
We're a group that challenges - and knows how hard it is to take on - the status quo. By building Fountain, we know how backwards and archaic the huge industry we're tackling is. By selling and marketing Fountain, we know how stubborn our purchasers are. By supporting our customers, we know just how badly the world needs a product like ours.
We do these things, not just because it's fun or because it's thrilling to work at a startup. No, we work hard because we believe in the mission of supporting the billions of people worldwide and because we know that our company will be an important part of the future we and our children live in.
And now, I am leaving. I'm leaving at a time when we just had a record sales month. Our product, I am finally proud to say is “best in class.” A team, I can look at and feel like I'm with family.
There will be many highs that I will not be present to experience with you, and also many low lows that I will also miss. But I will be leaving on great terms, with many of you I consider close friends, and in confidence that you all will have an enormous success in your hands soon. The only thing I ask of you is to not forget about me, and to keep me in the loop with what's going on. I will miss each and every one of you tremendously.
Over my final couple months at Fountain, I want to finish strong. Do not let me fizzle out. If there is something you think I could help with, please - I urge you - let me know.
What I'll leave you with is this: startups and your careers are not a sprint, but rather a long, long marathon... of which our team is just finishing up the first leg. You train for the race, and you may stumble and grow tired while running, but it's ultimately your mind that will take you over the finish line. Enjoy the moments you have together with your coworkers, cherish the struggle that comes from building something from nothing, relish in the fact that together we have overcome the insurmountable odds that have faced us in the past - enjoy the run.
And with that, I will see you soon!
Subscribe to Jeremy Cai
Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox