Transmissions from the Frontier
Wow. It’s been a minute since I’ve written here. My last update was in November of last year. We were on our adventure abroad and I was working to disengage from my tech and venture life while spending quality time with my family in fun and exciting new places. I have so much to share — I’m feeling inspired, excited and glad to be back (mostly). Let’s jump right in!
The Adventure Abroad — in a word, epic. Reflecting on the entire experience, it was full of so many different kinds of experiences and emotions. We had truly amazing ones full of joy and wonder, and really hard ones. The “WTF did we just do” kinds too. The mental space was powerful for me. It took real work to let go and slow down, and that’s exactly what I did. I just wish it had lasted longer. Unfortunately, we had to come home 3 months early due to two discs in my low back, which decided they had had enough. More on this later. TL;DR — I’m on the mend now. This adventure was something my wife and I had always wanted to do and I’m so thankful we went through with it. A lifetime of memories, experiences and true transformation for our family. I see changes in everyone, myself included that are positive.
Introducing NewRock Partners- My passion for business and tech has not changed in the last year. I am clear that I want to continue to work with amazing founders, help companies scale, and invest in high potential businesses. I also realized that spending a year on the road to raise my own venture fund was not going to work. So I’ve created something I’m truly excited about that enables me to continue to invest and work with startups and respects where I’m at right now and provides unlimited opportunity and upside going forward.
NewRock Partners is a deal-by-deal investment firm that focuses on early-stage (pre-seed thru B, for more context) investing in the areas where my domain expertise, experience, and interests align. Thus, the initial focus for NewRock is B2B SaaS, FinTech and Frontier technologies (crypto, AI, deep tech, UAVs, new markets). Over time this may expand as NewRock does. Given my dual experience as a Founder/CEO and VC, I’m all about rolling up the sleeves when it’s appropriate. So, part of this model for right now is engaging operationally with companies that want my help and where I believe I can add deep value. Over time as the portfolio grows, I’ll have fewer cycles for this and expect the operational engagements to slow. It’s early days. I don’t even have a website up yet. I haven’t completed my deck…but like every good entrepreneur, this hasn’t stopped me from moving forward and if you aren’t embarrassed by your 1st product, you shipped too late. I’m right there. As it turns out — I’m currently looking for investment #3.
I’ve joined Wise Company! — as you just read, part of my approach as I build NewRock is to jump in operationally when it makes sense. I’m super excited to share that I have joined Wise as Chief Product Officer. Wise is a new business banking experience for SMBs that has, what I believe, to be a disruptive and unique offer to the 28M small and medium businesses in the US. We already have some great partners (BBVA, Stripe, Visa) and investors on board that I’m excited to work with.
My journey with the company started months ago when I was introduced to the CEO, Arjun Thyagarajan, through a longtime friend. We hit it off and I became an advisor. We started talking every week. The conviction grew, and I then put together a NewRock syndicate and became an investor in the pre-seed round. We were now talking almost every day and I was doing deep research and product thinking with Arjun. Fast forward to today and Wise is now in the current Techstars class in NYC with the amazing Jenny Fielding and has launched its initial offering. This indeed is one of those “I liked it so much, I joined the company” stories!
I’m inspired to innovate on the future of business banking. I believe in our mission to enable and empower business owners that have been under-served and overlooked for years. We are helping small business owners with resources other banks don’t provide, enabling them to grow faster. It is a super exciting time and rewarding to be back in the operational saddle alongside some very talented people.
Wise was founded in December of 2018 and has been moving at lightning-fast speed since then, and I don’t see anything that suggests we’ll slow down. As I jump in and get to work, I keep thinking of one of my favorite Mark Solon phrases …“there’s a lot of wood to chop”. This is very true…and I’m proud to be swinging the proverbial ax at Wise!
When I left for our crazy adventure I had no clue what would come next. I deliberately avoided thinking about it for a while so I would have the mental space to be open-minded and curious. It worked. It came to me…and today, I’m 100% back in action. I’m excited and humbled to be working with the great team at Wise and building NewRock, one stone at a time.
Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. — George Adair
More soon, thanks for reading!