As a junior in high school, I used Blogger to create The Voice of Santa Monica High School. My co-editors and I would post provocative articles – many submitted anonymously and penned by pseudonyms such as “Twisted Satire” and “Kano Lives” – and would encourage our classmates to “join the discussion”. And although our prose was distasteful and juvenile at times, nurturing the grassroots publication opened my eyes to the profound power inherent in the open exchange of information. Our tagline was “Discussion. Debate. Doctrine.,” making the project an early predecessor to Branch (formerly known as Roundtable).
A few years later, as my classmates at Princeton were anxiously awaiting the courtship of the Goldmans and McKinseys, I decided that an entrepreneurial excursion was the only fit for me. But I was tucked away in the isolated bubble that is the Ivy League and realized that I needed to quickly immerse myself in the musings and movements of the Internet world. So I turned to Twitter, eagerly following people like Elad Gil and Scott Heiferman. Then, this summer, a string of serendipitous tweets – an office hours invitation from Steve Schlafman, and an offer to attend the Lean Startup Machine (where I met my co-founder) – changed everything. Within weeks, Hursh Agrawal, Cemre Güngör, and I were off on a mission to turn the Internet’s monologues into dialogues, building our initial prototype on top of the Twitter platform.
So when the founders of Blogger and Twitter presented us with an opportunity for partnership I could not help but feel as if everything was coming full circle. It was immediately striking how harmoniously Ev, Biz, and Jason’s past experiences and future aspirations fit with our values and vision for Branch. And thus, we are incredibly humbled and excited to announce that we have entered into a partnership with the Obvious Corporation. A relationship which will support Hursh, Cemre, and me on many levels as we strive to build the next great Internet company.
In addition to Obvious, we are grateful for the unwavering counsel that Jonah Peretti has provided over the past few months and are honored to be welcoming Lerer Ventures into the Branch family. And we were overwhelmed with tales of SV Angel adding value to young companies so we feel lucky to be including them, as well. Additionally, an array of friends will be joining us – Rick Webb and Lucas Nelson have believed in us since Day One, and Ryan Freitas and David Tisch started being helpful long before they had any reason to be – and we are ecstatic to have them on board for the long haul.
Our team has been working out of Obvious’ Headquarters, in Downtown San Francisco, since the beginning of this year (and will continue to do so over the next few months). But we are also thrilled to announce that, this summer, Branch will be moving back to New York City. It is where our product was originally Made, and where our team and vision will continue to grow. Growth that will be supported by Jason Goldman – the former VP of Product at Twitter and Blogger, and Obvious’ COO – who will be moving with us to take on a more active role at Branch. The four of us will be taking up residence at betaworks, thanks to the support of John Borthwick and his team, and we could not be more excited to rejoin the New York tech community.
While we feel fortunate to be able to share all of this exciting news with you, it is not without a deep sense of ambivalence. Today, Branch is nothing but an ideal, and there are many long nights and laborious learnings to be had before we are able to stand behind something truly meaningful. But we are inspired and driven and very grateful for this opportunity, so follow us on our journey and reach out if you would like to come along for the ride.
Thanks for listening,