As we end the year, I find myself feeling immensely grateful for where things are for me personally, and with WeLivv. The amazing position the company is currently is not something I take for granted as it did not come easy. As many of you recently joined the WeLivv family, I wanted to share a personal story about the journey which I shared with my personal network as we were launching the Republic campaign several months ago.
The last three years have been harder, more isolating, and more stressful than anyone will ever know. Today, I'm working toward building something greater than I could have ever dreamed at the start of it all, because of the difficulties, not despite them.
My 3rd startup journey has been so much more than I could have imagined. We started with this simple idea that we could do one small thing within digital commerce better than the norms at the time. Since the start of our development, the original idea has evolved into so much more, and the progress we made has been far greater than we originally imagined. With both, came many more challenges and uncertainties. I have been tested emotionally, mentally, and even physically in ways I didn't realize I could handle. There have been so many failures with real consequences. The magnitude of fears, insecurities, self-doubt, and even self-loathing that I felt over the years are hard to describe. Each time I made it through one of these bouts, I came out with even greater clarity, confidence, and energy. But it's a cycle that continues as boundaries are pushed. For me personally, there were "easy ways out" with attractive job opportunities along the way, but nothing was less comfortable or scarier than the thought of having to live with myself after giving up.
The unrelenting commitment and focus, in part, is just how I'm wired, but it's also magnified by a strong sense of obligation to everyone who has supported me in any way. In addition to the entire team all over the world that has been along for this ride and has forced themselves to go deeper, and work harder, to achieve more than they too probably realized they could, I have also had amazing support beyond them. I have had friends that supported me as if the opportunities and challenges I was dealing with were their own. I've had partners and investors who stepped up repeatedly to open doors, break nights brainstorming critical problems or decisions, and ensured we were supported in the direction we chose. And last but not least, I've had a family that has stayed supportive and confident in me - no matter how difficult things seemed, and no matter how radical the vision grew - even when I didn't feel it myself.
This journey has felt lonely much of the time, but the reality is I have not been alone. The people I've surrounded myself with deserve more credit than I do, for the position I'm in and for the magnitude of the opportunity that is taking shape through WeLivv.
We're now developing aspects of the business that challenge the status quo of online search from companies like Google, the norms for how we're accustomed to shopping online, as well as how we consume and interact with content through the very platform you're reading this on. We're crazy enough to believe we can do it better.
We've raised $1 million from friends, family, and industry/technology icons. We've attracted incredible talent into the company, including the founder and exCEO of one of the most successful startups of our generation. These are testaments to what we have achieved so far. And we haven't scratched the surface yet. We're at a point where critical aspects of what we're doing are no longer theoretical. We have developed and proven foundational elements. And while I'm not under any delusion that anything will now come easy, I do believe the times ahead will be even more exciting than those we've already seen.
I've pushed through everything I've been dealt, and no matter how bad I felt or tough things got, saw every problem and opportunity for everything I would want it to be, rather than what it was. I've been pushing to see those things materialize through many ups and downs. That's why, as I sit in my little Queens apartment writing this, I have the audacity to work toward something so immense in its complexity and potential.
Thank you to everyone who helped in any way. You all know who you are. Every little bit of it played a role.
Thanks again for sharing in the vision and for becoming a part of our story.