I spent most of the past decade building Blend to bring the mortgage application process online. This was an immensely difficult undertaking. At the beginning, most prospective customers were skeptical that anyone would even want to apply for a mortgage online without a human guide. As we grew, we faced the challenge of deploying software for heavily regulated institutions with archaic technology and many competing priorities. I’ve heard similar stories from friends brave enough to build software for healthcare and government, which, like banking, have been slow to improve their technology.
COVID-19 has changed the game. Providing user-friendly, high-capacity online services and moving work online are now top priorities of every organization, from small businesses to large enterprises to governments. Technology adoption that we expected to take 5 to 10 years is taking just a few months. Organizations built on modern technology are sprinting ahead while the rest are struggling to survive.
To meet this unprecedented need for online services, it’s time to keep building more, better software, and at a faster pace than ever before. This won’t happen automatically. In a recent interview, Elon Musk reminded us that “if you don’t make stuff, there’s no stuff.” To restore economic production/consumption to where it was pre-COVID, we need to bring more of it online. With every organization now under more pressure to upgrade their software and revisit their antiquated rules and regulations, we have an opening to build and widely deploy the next generation of technology much sooner than expected. There’s no reason to wait around for governments to release us from lockdown to get to work on this.
Blend has always operated under the principle that, in the long run, success follows from impact. To maximize your own impact, you have to focus on what you’re great at (and passionate about) while surrounding yourself with people with complementary strengths. I had the rare experience of starting and scaling up a successful software company, an engineering organization, and a complex software system. I’m obsessed with continuous improvement and excellence in engineering and operations.
To complement these strengths, I’ve partnered with Christian Lawless, Founder and Managing Partner of Conversion Capital. I met Christian back in 2013 when he invested in Blend. He was instrumental in helping us get our foot in the door with lenders and better understand the mortgage industry. He has an incredible network across finance, government, healthcare, and technology and a great investing track record, with early investments in companies like Figure, Qualia, Improbable, and Booster Fuels.
To help build the next generation of technology for the post-COVID world, I’m joining Conversion Capital as a partner on the investing team and also starting a new organization called Conversion Labs. Conversion Capital will continue to fund the best companies transforming the economy through software, data, and cloud infrastructure. Conversion Labs, with the help of advisors like Scott McNealy, will be early to identify critical, newly addressable problems and build new products and teams around them, imbued with a winning culture and a sound technical foundation. By starting companies in a “labs” setting, we will have the flexibility to prototype multiple ideas and aggressively scale the ones that work.
The next step for Conversion Labs is to build the founding product development team. If you’re a software engineer or product designer who wants to be part of building new companies for the post-COVID world, we want to talk to you. We believe in continuous improvement, putting customers first, individual responsibility, and the importance of hard work and ambition. We aim to create a small, high-quality team and a work environment with minimal politics and bureaucracy, entirely focused on building and shipping. Check out our jobs page and get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!