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Morrow - End of Year letter
A year of firsts
Morrow family and friends,
Happy Holidays to all of you. What a year it has been. For me. For Morrow. If I were guessing, probably for you as well.
This year has provided much to reflect on. Twelve months ago, Morrow didn't exist. Just over six months ago, Morrow consisted of me running around with a pitch deck. How fulfilling and energizing it has been to see that “me” change to a “we.” Today, we’re fortunate to have:
a strong set of investors and advisors
a growing team
a base of paying customers
an online platform set to launch in Q1
When I started writing this letter several days ago, we were a team of four. Now we are five. To put in perspective a different way, the last time I wrote an update letter at the end of August, only 1 and 2 from the list above were true. Slow, slow, fast as they say. As the calendar turns over to another year, it’s as good a time as ever to take stock of our progress and look ahead to what it means for the coming year.
Before diving in, I’d like to extend a word of gratitude to the many of you reading this letter who have shown support, in ways big and small, for this seed of a company, sharing our belief and vision in the tree it can become. We’re equally grateful to spend our working hours building something that has already impacted lives and has potential to impact millions more.
With that, let us review and preview. Here are the updates from Q4, followed by a few items looking into Q1…
Q4 - Company updates
Online platform launch
Q1 - Looking ahead
Gift offering released
Morrow for businesses
Company updates —
1) Team expansion
Of the positive developments that have taken place over the past months, all have been hugely accentuated by the presence of a strong, steadily growing team. In fact, the most significant company moments have been the addition of each of these individuals to the team. At time of this letter, we are a team of five — myself, a Head of Operations, a Growth Lead, a Navigator Team Lead, and a Financial Planning Associate. A bit more about the team…
Sean Hogan - Head of Operations
Katie Horton - Navigator Team Lead
In addition to Sean and Katie, George Brown has played a critical role driving forward GTM efforts as Growth Lead. Britta Spitzer has joined us as a Financial Planning Associate and provides terrific support to our Navigator team.
We’re eager to continue expanding upon this terrific core team in the coming year.
2) First paying customers
Following learnings from our Private Launch over the summer, we rolled out Morrow to an initial set of paying customers this fall. Getting our first customer in the door was a good day!
We strongly believe that delivering a fresh, differentiated experience in this category will standout from what the market has come to tolerate as industry norm. Moreover, we expect executing well in this arena will set off a cascade of powerful “word-of-mouth” effects (see next section for a glimpse of how we’re differentiating on experience).
We continue to build our founding customer base through guerilla-style, DTC methods, while recognizing the limit to scale there. As we do so, conversations over the past two months have us equally excited about working with businesses and employers to offer Morrow to their populations of employees, and in some cases, customers.
3) Online platform launch
In parallel with team and user growth, we’ve quietly been pushing ahead our technology platform. As I’ve written about before, big value and efficiency can be gained by streamlining many of the manual activities currently creating friction and burden for both operators and consumers within financial planning.
This fall, one of our business advisors introduced us to an exceptional product designer we’ve been working with to bring to life our vision of the first version of the online platform. He came to us with experience leading design teams in fintech (Paypal) and telehealth (Doctors On Demand). We’re excited to share an early preview of that platform here…
As of this week, the design set has been finalized and transitioned to our team of developers. We’re targeting a late January release of the platform.
Looking ahead —
1) Gift offering released
Just in time for the holidays! One of the more common reactions we get when speaking to others about Morrow is “Oh! My ______ would be the perfect person for this!” The reality is most of us have someone in our lives who is navigating the unfamiliar transition into retirement. In most cases, we ourselves aren’t the right person to help despite every desire to.
Part of the reason we started Morrow is because we saw too many cases of avoidable, suboptimal results achieved with a DIY retirement support approach. There is a better way and we set out to build it.
We rolled out a Gift offering in November to make it easy for people to give the gift of financial confidence and clarity. Most times the recipient is an individual, although recently we had a business purchase Morrow subscriptions for each of its employees. As many look to January to set fresh goals and make improvements, we’ll continue promote this Gift option as a great way to give a gift that’s hard to give on our own.
2) Morrow for businesses
Speaking of businesses, we plan to ramp up offering Morrow to employers in the new year. As noted, we added our first business customer this month and have a growing pipeline of active conversations with others. In some cases, these are small business owners who have heard about Morrow and are wishing to provide their employees with access to financial wellness resources. In other cases, the “businesses” we’re speaking with are schools interested in offering Morrow to their faculty and staff. In all cases, our offering presents an affordable way for companies to provide a backbone of financial wellness to their own.
The guiding words for 2021 were “commitment” and “concentration” — words to create something new and see what might become. The word for 2022 is “trust,” a trust that believes executing the right steps before us — working hard, laying solid foundation, hiring the right people, being proactive yet patient — will produce positive yield.
I’ve found that sometimes when people ask me about how the business is coming, it used to bother me that I didn’t always have a “blow-you-away” update to share. But slowly that has worn off as those fun things to share with others are just ornaments on a tree that is only worth decorating because of untold, unseen nurture poured into making the tree grow. For the coming year, we will keep efforts focused on growing the tree, trusting that by doing so, the ornaments will come as they will and make the tree a little bit brighter.
For now, we wish everyone reading this a bright and merry Holiday season.