The guy behind the company aiming to build a market for human potential
Hi, This is Ankit here. Today is the first time we are sending the newsletter on Wednesday and for a bunch of reasons, I find this super exciting😃.
Coming to the point, Today, in the 2nd Edition of Breakout Careers, we are covering Justin Potts, Founder and CEO of Avenify, a Lending Marketplace for Income Sharing Agreements.
Prior to starting Avenify, Justin led content marketing at Republic, ran social media at Product Hunt, founded Kite AI, and interned at Mozilla as a software engineer.
He also studied at the University of Oklahoma and Hult International Business School.
Justin’s career can be divided into 3 main inflection points:-
Let’s dive into these points one by one:
1. Starting Kite AI in College
Justin co-founded Kite AI in 2016, after building a prototype at a Hackathon with Alex Meza (CTO), and Trevor Nguyen (Head of Machine Learning) who he’d worked on various projects in high school.
Kite AI’s mission was to make the web a better place by eliminating online harassment. The startup was utilising machine learning to detect online abuse and harassment and offered an API for developers to integrate Kite AI into their own products.
Later on, Kite AI piloted with various well-known consumer social startups and enterprise companies.
However, the company shut down after 10 months, but it proved to be an immense learning experience for Justin and his cofounders. He also published a blog summarising his learnings from building Kite AI.
2. Working at Product Hunt and Republic
After shutting down Kite, Justin went to work at Product Hunt where he helped Nick Abouzeid who was managing PH’s Social Media.
Matthew Kobach@mkobachList of what “doing” social media consists of: • Real-time/crisis comms • Editorial strategy/calendar • Photographer/Videographer • Customer service • Creative strategy • Graphic design • Branding • Copy writer • Product marketing • Data analytics • Host What else?
This is something which Justin credits a lot for the things it taught him while building his company.
After this, Justin went to lead content marketing at Republic, an investment platform where everyone can invest as little as $10 in innovative startups and ICOs.
3. Starting Avenify
While at Republic, Justin and his friend Timo Sheridan, began exploring the idea of investing in students through ISAs. Soon, the duo paired up and started working on Avenify.
In February, he and Timo went full time on Avenify and took a three month road trip to visit colleges in USA and meet with students and financial aid departments to learn more about the problem they could solve.
After few months on hustle, the team finally launched the product in July this year with 30 selected students from prestigious schools such as Cornell, NYU, Lambda School and several others.
Very recently, the company also launched a crowdfunding campaign where they reached their target of $25K in less than a week after launching.
The campaign is still live on Republic. Go support them 😄
Justin has watched every interview, talk, and podcast of Jack Dorsey, Brian Chesky, Evan Spiegel, and Travis Kalanick. He says he treats it like new TV episodes or TV seasons and watches when new videos come out!
Justin is an active blogger and frequently publishes his experiences, thoughts and opinions on Medium.
He has also written a primer on ISAs which is recommended by a lot of people in the tech community.
I will highly recommend checking out his personal website too 😄