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2022: A Reminder of Why We Are Building Stakeholder Labs
A New Years message from Stakeholder Labs CEO Matt Joanou
Happy New Year -
I hope everyone stayed warm and had a restful holiday season with friends and family. For many of us building companies right now, it was a much needed breather and an opportunity to reflect on the speed in which the world changed in 2022. For me personally, last year is a strong reminder of why we are building Stakeholder Labs.
Year of Dramatic Change
It was only a year ago that the S&P 500 and Dow hit record highs on the first trading day, Elon Musk was just the CEO of Tesla & SpaceX, and interest rates were still near zero. Fast forward to today and the S&P 500 has dropped 20% leading to waves of layoffs with even the largest tech companies facing major headwinds. If someone had told you a year ago that board members would be advocating for the ouster of Elon Musk at Tesla and Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook over the next 12 months, you might guess there was some sort of black swan event; but here we are. As I talk to other entrepreneurs and executives, there is a growing sense that new strategies for identifying and growing value are necessary for today’s economy.
Digitization = Democratization
Prior to starting Stakeholder Labs, I spent the previous decade working at Reddit and Google watching digital communities create mass movements that are increasingly impacting our financial markets. Back in 2012 when I was working at Google, Facebook had just surpassed 1B users and looked unstoppable in their quest for social media dominance. Simultaneously, the Washington Post asked, “Where has the retail investor gone?” Over the next 10 years, we’ve seen the rapid growth of digital platforms such as TikTok, Twitch, Snap, and Reddit and we’ve watched the same technology and community mechanics that inspired the Arab Spring and The Ice Bucket Challenge give birth to cryptocurrencies and meme stocks. In many ways, Facebook hitting 1B users was only the first chapter of digital communities and the next decade presented entirely new channels for growth. Today, with over 100M brokerage accounts across the six largest platforms and crypto markets refocusing on utility, we see this as the end of the first chapter of the digitalization of our financial markets. Similar to the growth of digital communities, Stakeholder Labs is expecting the next ten years to be a period of rapid transformation and growth in our community-driven, financial world.
Where do we go from here?
As our team prepares for the year ahead, we’re reflecting on our mission and how we build software that solves multiple pain points for companies facing an increasingly uncertain world. We are focused on offering an ownership operating system to enable companies to address these foundational questions and empower them to adapt quickly to new circumstances impacting their stakeholders:
Who are our most valuable stakeholders?
What do they care about?
How are we growing their Stakeholder Lifetime Value?
Our first product, Roundtable, is the cornerstone of this ownership operating system because it allows for publicly traded companies to verify the identities of their retail investors, integrate that data into their CRMs, and offer shareholder rewards to encourage both long term shareholders and customer loyalty. Our goal is to give investor relations executives and leadership teams the tools they need to manage their retail communities and provide enterprise attribution to their efforts.
Building the Foundation
Lastly, I wanted to take this New Years note to give a special thank you to our initial stakeholders - teammates, investors, advisors, and now, first customers who have supported the team through the earliest iterations of the Stakeholder Labs concept and software. We’re incredibly excited about the opportunities ahead of us in 2023 and the opportunity to drive stakeholder innovation in our broader economic system.