We must adapt. (Our founder's message to employees.)
During our all-hands meeting yesterday, I shared with the team principles that will not only guide us through the current economic turbulence—but also help them to make the best, most informed decisions for themselves. Read my full statement here:
You may have already heard Deed’s founding story. But here’s what you haven’t heard.
I came up with an idea to make doing good cool. I thought I could do it because I was really good at making things cool.
The first person to believe in my idea enough to help make it a reality was Steve Liu. He invested in the company when it was just an idea on a slide deck, and we managed to bring in more of our friends to also invest. Then came bringing this idea to life.
Two engineers—my friend Ebby and his friend Nicolas—were unwilling to join as co-founders, but they still wanted to pitch in. We built our MVP in a few months and became an immediate underground success in NYC. Everyone who was in the know knew about Deed. We were named one of Vogue’s Top 10 Apps of the Year before we even officially launched. When Time Out NY featured us, we showed up on everyone’s Instagram feed.
Somehow, by some way, I found a few people who were willing to help based on a far-fetched promise.
Olivia Boger tended bar when we couldn’t pay her a full-time salary. Now Olivia is our VP of Partner Success. Stav Kashi left her job in fintech before we knew we would ever raise money. Now Stav is VP of Product. Chad Haertling left a cushy job at one of the biggest incumbents for an untested product with a cool story. Now Chad is VP of Sales. Our technical co-founder, Aske Ertmann, worked for free for almost a year.
We kept our promise to each and every one of them. And they kept theirs.
Now, we have some incredible companies who believe in us, nonprofits that rely on us, and a talented team all around.
But there are turbulent times ahead which could not have been predicted, and companies must adapt. As such, let’s discuss what that challenge means to Deed, and how we are responding as a company.
Nevertheless, we will continue to act responsibly. While other companies are laying people off left and right, we will not be. To prevent that from ever happening, we are instituting a few principles under which we will operate during this crisis, and which we would like to share with you all today:
1. We will put our people first—you deeply matter to us. Each of you was hand-selected for a reason. We vow to always be open and transparent, and to do right by you as we navigate this uncertainty.
2. We will do everything we possibly can to serve our partners—such that we ourselves, and our product, are indispensable to them. Only the best products and businesses will thrive in this uncertain market—and we will be one of them.
3. We will approach product development with a shared service mentality—by always asking ourselves, How can what I am building be leveraged in other ways that deliver value to our users, and in turn our company?
4. We will build functionality to empower non-technical team members—this will free up our engineering capacity to focus on features that propel the company forward in major ways.
5. Everyone lends a hand—no task is too small for anyone on the team. It’s time to buckle down and help one another so we can reach our collective goals. If you see something, do something.
6. Scale sustainably—we will grow responsibly to maximize the benefit for all stakeholders: our clients, our nonprofits, our people, and our investors.
7. We are a team—it will take a herculean effort from each of us to win. And we will win!
Even in the early, uncertain days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when fear was king, people everywhere took action, donated, and came together to help one another. Companies, too, doubled down on CSR and ESG, as they realized social impact isn’t just nice to have, it’s a must-have. In a time of great need, impact budgets didn’t decrease, in fact they increased. Right now, despite venture capital funding slowing down in the broader market, the VC community is increasingly interested in the CSR and employee engagement space. Forbes reports that nearly 25 percent of all US investment dollars go to ESG companies.
The need is clear—now let’s meet it.
Deevee Kashi CEO & Founder