Why Was Common Tide Created?
Amper Music, the company I co-founded and led as CEO from inception in 2014 through acquisition in 2020, nearly died numerous times. We almost ran out of money, we had a key early employee (actually, our only software engineer at the time) bail without notice, we had legacy competitors using their scale against us, and we struggled, at times, to convince customers of the merit of AI-generated music. All of this is to say, a startup is a rollercoaster of highs and lows, and Amper was no exception.
We certainly experienced our fair share of the highest highs of “startuphood,” but during the nadirs of our journey, the thought would creep into my head that if Amper goes bust, I would end up with nothing. All of my eggs were in the Amper basket. On the other hand, while my VC investors would be disappointed in the event of Amper’s failure, they expected some of their investments to fail and startup portfolios to decrease the risk of an individual investment on their overall fund. “Wouldn’t it be nice,” I thought as a stress-riddled founder, “if I had some level of diversification as well!” Trading some of my equity in Amper for a risk hedge in something would have been a mental, financial, emotional, and physical boost that would have minimized the toll that the startup journey took on me.
In parallel, I experienced that having a trusted group of founders who were 1) in my vertical, 2) at my stage, or 3) generally also a startup founder was critical to my growth as a founder and CEO. Of all the advisors that I worked with, those who were – or had been – a startup founder were the most valuable. While I had a few small groups of folks I trusted, I also yearned for a wider network of founders to whom I could easily reach for advice, mentorship, and friendship.
Common Tide is the solution that I wish existed in 2015, when we raised our first VC-led financing (~$1.2m). It’s the solution I wish existed in 2017 when I was starving for peer mentorship and community. It’s the solution I wish existed in 2020 when I went through my first (and only) M&A process and was seeking experienced advice from those who had already gone down this path. Common Tide’s financial downside protection and peer community of founders would have been life changing for me. It is for these reasons that Common Tide was created, and it is for these reasons that I hope founders everywhere will join us.