Brought to you by A.Team
If you want to build great things without increasing full-time headcount, use A.Team. It really is that simple. The company has brought together some of the world’s most talented engineers, designers, and product managers and created the structure to help these people operate in cohesive teams. That allows them to tackle your business’s most pressing problems and build transformative products.
You can go from posting a complex project to being matched with a fully-staffed, exceptional team in a matter of days. Once onboard, A.Team makes managing contracts, payment, and coordination simple.
If you only have a few minutes to spare, here’s what investors, operators, and founders should know about A.Team.
- Focused on the team. A.Team is a different kind of talent marketplace. Rather than creating a platform to hire individual freelancers, CEO Raphael Ouzan has built a place to efficiently hire a high-performing team of contractors. By doing so, his company can solve more complex and valuable client problems.
- Keeping Bill Gurley happy. The investing legend famously outlined the ten important factors to consider when evaluating a marketplace. Gurley knew what he was talking about, having invested in massive players like Ebay, Uber, and OpenTable. Using Gurley’s checklist to analyze A.Team is revealing and speaks to the potential of Ouzan’s business.
- Winning customers, making an impact. Since launching in 2020, A.Team has attracted $60 million in venture funding. That capitalization has come in response to strong traction. The startup has attracted an impressive roster of customers, including Lyft, Pepsico, McGraw Hill, Ledger, The Economist, and many others.
- Disrupting McKinsey. Though it might be tempting to compare A.Team to Fiverr, given both are talent marketplaces, Ouzan’s company is more similar to a blue-chip management consulting firm like McKinsey. A.Team doesn’t care about winning low-value logo design or copywriting – it wants to help the biggest companies in the world solve their hardest problems. Unlike a consultancy, A.Team does that by building rather than advising.
- The OS for teams. Though A.Team could become an extremely large business without deviating from its current value proposition, Ouzan sees potential beyond talent matching. The software A.Team has built to run its marketplace could prove extremely valuable for other companies as a kind of “team OS,” helping optimize a blended workforce.
This piece was written as part of The Generalist’s partner program. You can read about the ethical guidelines I adhere to in the link above. I always note partnerships transparently, only share my genuine opinion, and commit to working with organizations I consider exceptional. A.Team is one of them.
No one expected much from Building 20.
Constructed in a rush in the middle of World War II, the cement and timber construction was intended to serve as a “temporary” workspace for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Radiation Laboratory. Even its architect expected a short life span declaring it would last “for the duration of the war and six months thereafter.”
But from that makeshift structure, magic emerged. In the years that followed its opening in 1943, Building 20 served as the breeding ground for some of the 20th century’s most important discoveries. Beyond the asbestos shingles, scientists invented single antenna radar – essential in winning World War II. In a tiny office, Noam Chomsky developed his theories of linguistics. Amongst groaning floorboards, Amar Bose researched acoustics, laying the groundwork for his eventual company: The Bose Corporation. Building 20’s history is littered with such moments, marked by Nobel Prize winners and particle accelerators, scientific breakthroughs and profound cultural shifts, founders and hackers. Over the course of its 55-year existence, Building 20 established itself as a delightful aberration – a “magical incubator” housed in plywood.
It was, in its essence, an example of “scenius.” Coined by musician Brian Eno, that term captures the idea of the “collective genius” that manifests in certain social groups at different times. Xerox PARC, Bell Labs, The Bloomsbury Group – all are examples of scenius, stories defined not so much by a single visionary as the extraordinary generativeness of a group.
Perhaps because scenius is so rare, it’s often viewed as capricious. It arrives unannounced and leaves when it wishes. It is easily squandered but nearly impossible to wrangle. It may be naturally occurring but cannot be rationalized, industrialized, or engineered. Right?
One company is hell-bent on testing that thesis. Founded in early 2020, A.Team is a talent marketplace with a twist: instead of contracting a single freelancer, clients hire a fully-fledged team of elite engineers, designers, and product managers. By shifting the focus from the individual to the collective, A.Team can solve much harder and more valuable problems for corporate customers like Pepsico, Lifepoint Health, McGraw Hill, The Economist, Lyft, and Etoro. It takes on McKinsey-grade challenges and staffs talent capable of building the solution.
While this core value proposition already makes A.Team a unique, compelling business, speak to CEO and serial entrepreneur Raphael Ouzan, and it becomes clear that his ultimate goal is at a different order of magnitude. Ouzan does not simply want to usurp McKinsey or Accenture – not to mention lower-cost marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork. Above all, Ouzan hopes A.Team becomes a platform for the world’s most talented builders to connect, create, and collaborate. It is, fundamentally, an attempt to architect scenius. To engineer a platform in which collective brilliance blooms.
It is an audacious, daunting mission that will not be easily reached. However, A.Team has shown an ability to turn abstract ambition into a tangible business. Since its founding in 2020, Ouzan’s firm has attracted $60 million in venture funding from Insight Venture Partners, Tiger Global, NFX, and a string of impressive angels ranging from Adam Grant to Jay-Z.
As alluded to, though, A.Team’s most intriguing progress lies beyond the cap table. In a short time, the platform has successfully won over 400 startup and corporate customers. A.Teams have built vaccine orchestration software, coffee ordering apps, fintech products, and modern learning tools. That’s translated into sharply growing revenue: after a 7x increase in 2021, A.Team expanded 3x in 2022, with net-revenue retention exceeding 300% in several key segments.
A.Team’s fast start and exceptional retention is strong evidence that Raphael Ouzan has hit on something special. There is no doubt that the greatest work lies ahead, though. Thomas Edison famously described genius as “one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Manifesting scenius, at scale, will take no little luck and similarly extreme efforts.
Origins: Connecting the dots
We leap from Edison to Jobs, trading one irascible genius for another. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards,” the Apple co-founder said. Though the brilliance of Jobs’ line is that it applies to all of us, it feels particularly apt framing for Raphael Ouzan’s mission at A.Team. Throughout his life – and often in oblique ways – Ouzan has stippled the spaces around his current company, studying technology, high-performance teams, independent work, and innovation.
By the time Jobs uttered those words, Raphael Ouzan had enrolled in Israel’s Defense Forces – but we are getting ahead of ourselves. The story begins not in Israel but in northeastern France and the region of Champagne.
By his own admission, Raphael Ouzan was an unusual child. At a time when most French children were mesmerized by footballers like Zinedine Zidane and the rest of the 1998 World Cup-winning team, Ouzan was fascinated by computers. “I had a weird obsession,” he admits. Even just puttering around on the limited Intel 486 machine he used at his father’s medical practice felt like a “window to a different, bigger world.” To open his technological aperture, Ouzan harried his father to take him to Fnac – a popular shop to purchase magazines and CDs – so that he could buy textbooks to learn coding languages like C and C++.
As Ouzan’s technological abilities grew, so did his commercial ambitions. At synagogue, Ouzan pitched his parents’ friends on his skills, taking on contract work by age 12. Ouzan built e-commerce pages and small business websites. While he was paid cash for some of his efforts, he asked to be remunerated differently at other times. “I asked one of my clients to pay me by teaching me how to make a business plan,” he said. Though he’d already established a burgeoning business as a freelancer, Ouzan already had designs of starting a company of his own.
Though today France is home to impressive technology companies like Front and BeReal, it wasn’t an industry leader in those days. That resulted in friction for Ouzan in several places. For one thing, his parents weren’t convinced computer science would prove a good use of his time. “They saw it as a fad,” he said, “They would have preferred I studied math.” Equally, it meant that Ouzan didn’t have classmates with similar interests. The people that Ouzan talked about technology with were usually the occupants of internet chat rooms.
To their credit, Ouzan’s parents recognized that a change of scenery might better develop his technological abilities. While they considered trying to emigrate to the U.S., they eventually settled in Israel. At the age of 16, Ouzan traded Champagne for Tel Aviv.
The Startup Nation
Despite its small size – Israel has a population of 9.4 million, smaller than Greece – Raphael Ouzan’s new home was a tech powerhouse. The country’s military funded innovation for decades, with venture firms picking up starting in the 1990s. By the time Ouzan arrived, it had a blossoming venture scene that has continued to develop in recent years. In 2022, Israel received the ninth most venture funding in the world and second most per capita. There’s a reason it was famously dubbed “the Startup Nation.”
In Israel, Ouzan’s technological education accelerated. At 18, Ouzan won first prize in the country’s Young Scientist Contest for a project that combined robotics and computer vision. Fittingly, the competition was sponsored by Intel, the maker of Ouzan’s first computer. After securing the top spot in Israel, Ouzan was invited to compete in Intel’s International Science competition; he finished second.
Though Ouzan had arrived in Israel without knowing how to speak Hebrew, by the time he graduated from high school, it felt like a second home. Rather than returning to France for university or voyaging to Silicon Valley, he decided to stay in Tel Aviv. That was largely influenced by an unmarked letter that arrived one day.
It didn’t say much. Only that Ouzan had been invited to apply for Israel’s elite intelligence group: unit 8200. Along with other special national military groups, unit 8200 has been called “the nation’s equivalent of Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.”
Though Ouzan remembers the interview questions as fascinatingly intricate, he didn’t learn much about the kind of work he would do. “I remember they showed a recruiting video – it said nothing.” Given that the unit required a minimum commitment of 18 months (and often as long as three years), joining with such little information was a risk. But the intelligence of the people he’d met and the difficulty of the recruiting process convinced him.
Ouzan’s time at 8200 would prove especially influential. Though he got to work on cutting-edge technological problems of political consequence, his spell in the army was even more important from a managerial perspective. For the first time in his life, Ouzan was surrounded by individuals with similar gifts and drive – who also happened to be of the same age. While that could produce incredible camaraderie, it also could create friction. Nineteen-year-olds used to being at the top of the class suddenly had to reckon with being unremarkable. Programmers without formal working experience had to learn to function within a team.
Critically, those challenges had to be managed within a structure where virtually every employee left after three years. That restriction put a premium on identifying talent, effective training, and knowledge management. All were tasks Ouzan developed a taste for handling. As much as he loved the technical aspects of his job, managing human and organizational capital became an increasing fascination. He spent five years in the military, extending beyond his initial three-year contract.
“That period taught me what I wanted to do in my life,” Ouzan later reflected. “I realized I wanted to work on really important things, with great people, and with the autonomy to make decisions.”
What’s not commoditized?
Following that philosophy didn’t give Ouzan so many options when his term at 8220 ended. If he wanted that kind of freedom, he would need to build it himself. In 2010, Ouzan teamed up with serial entrepreneur Yaron Samid to build BillGuard. The idea was simple: create an anti-fraud banking service for consumers. By installing the BillGuard app and connecting one’s bank accounts, users allowed Ouzan’s company to scan their transactions for potentially malicious charges. Once a spurious transaction had been identified, BillGuard helped consumers recover their money.
It proved an attractive pitch, not least because Ouzan brought some of 8200’s technical talent with him. In 2010, BillGuard raised a $3 million seed round from Bessemer Venture Partners, SV Angel, and Founder Collective. The next year, another $10 million topped off the coffers thanks to investment from Founders Fund and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors. Five years after its founding, BillGuard was acquired by Prosper Marketplace, where Ouzan worked for another two years as a Vice President. The lending company’s purchase was financially life-changing for Ouzan, but it didn’t sate his entrepreneurial itch. In 2017, he began considering his next move.
It would take Ouzan two years to find the right idea. As an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Thrive Capital, he explored new ideas, tested different theses, and learned from great entrepreneurs. As part of that role, Ouzan had the chance to listen to the board meetings of the companies the firm had invested in, including players like GitHub and Slack. The more often he tuned in to those conversations, the more Ouzan realized they revolved around talent and how to manage it. “You quickly learn that human capital problems are at the heart of almost every hard problem,” he said.
That realization sparked something for Ouzan, but it would take time to ignite into a tangible idea. The former BillGuard founder began to study successful communities, like Tel Aviv’s tech scene, and labor marketplaces, like Fiverr.
Ouzan respected what the Israeli platform had achieved, but he didn’t believe that it represented the future of work – at least not meaningful work. (As it happens, I reached the same conclusion around the same time. In 2018, I was working at AND CO, a startup that Fiverr acquired. I left after a few months, rather disenchanted with the type of work Fiverr seemed best suited to organize.)
Though Fiverr successfully standardized freelance work, making it easier for buyers to browse services, it commoditized the freelancers themselves. The result was a platform well-suited to solve simple, low-end tasks but that couldn’t help businesses with their most pressing, cutting-edge needs. A Fortune 500 company might hire an SEO writer on Fiverr, but they were unlikely to build their next big mobile app or identify a new revenue stream through the service. Those kinds of challenges remained the province of old-school consultancies like McKinsey or Accenture.
For Ouzan, Fiverr’s impact on the labor market was part of a broader trend. “Fundamentally, the core law of technology is that everything that can be commoditized, will be commoditized.” Just as Uber commoditized cars and drivers, Fiverr commoditized designers and programmers.
Gigi Weiss was considering these trends around the same time as Ouzan. As a General Partner at NFX, a fund focused on network effects, Weiss had seen what was required to build a great marketplace. His firm had invested in leaders like Lyft, DoorDash, and Trulia. But Weiss had always been puzzled by the absence of a truly massive labor marketplace. “Why is the biggest player in this space just a few billion dollars in size?” he asked. “Instead of the biggest labor marketplace being as big as Amazon, it’s pretty tiny.” Today, Fiverr trades at a market cap of just $1.57 billion.
There is a corollary to Ouzan’s theory of technology’s flattening effect: anything technology can’t commoditize is likely to be extremely valuable. So, what can’t be commoditized? What remains differentiated in the face of technological saturation?
As Ouzan reflected on these questions, he remembered a software developer at BillGuard. He had been one of the first employees ever to quit the company. When Ouzan had asked him why he was leaving, the engineer said that he was going to freelance with his best friend. The two of them loved collaborating on projects and wanted to find more ways to work together. “I thought it was crazy. It made zero sense to me at the time,” Ouzan remarked, “but I started to think about it again.”
Instead of questioning why anyone would want to embrace self-employment to work alongside a friend, Ouzan started to wonder why more people weren’t doing what his former developer had done. Everyone wants autonomy, Ouzan thought. Everyone values flexibility. Everyone wants to work with people they like and respect. So why do so many of the world’s most talented people still join centralized organizations?
After two years of investigating different startup ideas, Ouzan found one worth pursuing. He wouldn’t forge another freelance marketplace that pitted low-end talent against each other in a race to the bottom; he would create a platform for teams of the most talented, non-commodifiable talent to build and innovate.
“Raphael broke the paradigm,” Gigi Weiss said. “The difference between what he wanted to do and every other marketplace in the field was that he wasn’t focusing on low-cost, low-difficulty tasks. He wanted to bring together the best people to work on the biggest problems. When that’s the value proposition, you can suddenly get very different kinds of people to join.”
It would take a little longer for Ouzan to reach that step. The day Ouzan realized he was on to something, he snapped into action. The name for his new venture arrived instantly: A.Team. A “utopia for builders,” as he thought of it, the community he dreamt of as a precocious teenager in Champagne. He quickly incorporated the business and set about negotiating for a domain name. Kobi Masri, a friend from the Israeli military that had also relocated to New York City, joined as a co-founder. As it happened, Masri had followed his national service with a four-and-a-half-year spell at McKinsey, where he learned how external teams could help address critical business problems. In A.Team, he saw an evolution of the management consulting model, updated for the tech era.
While Ouzan and Masri quickly got to work, they didn’t rush to fundraise. That was perhaps surprising, given Ouzan’s track record and VC connections. “We didn’t raise for many months,” Ouzan said. In part, that seemed to have been motivated by the feeling that their idea might be too good to be true. Surely there was a catch they hadn’t considered or a competitor they had yet to find. “There are very few universal problems that are still low-hanging fruit,” Ouzan said.
To hone his idea, Ouzan relied on his existing network, and set about expanding it. One of his first conversations was with the ex-BillGuard employee who had remained a freelancer. Ouzan also wrote cold emails to leading future-of-work thinkers like Adam Grant. The University of Pennsylvania professor and author of works like Think Again was enamored with Ouzan’s premise. “He said, ‘I’ve been waiting for years for someone to do this. Let me invest; let me be an advisor.’”
It was time to pull together a round. A.Team rejected the chance to join Y Combinator for free – an off-menu item the accelerator offers to very few companies – but used its SAFE template to raise a $5 million seed round. Gigi Weiss’s NFX led the early-2020 round, with participation from Village Global and dozens of leading angels, including behavioral economist Dan Ariely, former Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel, Apple’s Global Head of Recruiting Sjoerd Ghering, and Lyft’s ex-Chief Product Officer, Ran Makavy. “We wanted to work with the best people to do this,” Ouzan noted.
A.Team took its time getting started, but circumstances soon required it to quicken its pace. “Covid totally changed our roadmap,” Ouzan said. The pandemic fundamentally disrupted how the world worked, accelerating long-standing shifts in the process.
A market in motion
It’s worth taking a moment to talk about these changes. The number and impact of freelancers have steadily increased over the past few decades. Upwork’s 2022 study suggested that independent workers contributed $1.35 trillion to the U.S. economy, a $50 billion increase from the year prior. Sixty million Americans were purported to be self-employed, approximately 39% of the workforce. Though freelancing may once have seemed a niche choice, it is increasingly common. The percentage of freelancers is also likely to climb in the coming decades; younger generations are more inclined toward this type of employment. Forty-six percent of millennials and forty-three percent of Gen Zers worked freelance in 2022 – considerably above average.
What is behind this trend? It’s a combination of traditional employment’s declining allure and independent work’s growing advantages.
The quality of jobs in the U.S. private sector has declined for thirty-two years. As the University of Buffalo recorded, the “job quality index” measures the ratio of higher wage and higher hour jobs versus lower wage and lower hour positions. The “JQI” is viewed as a strong proxy for the health of the domestic labor market.
Other sources paint a similar picture. Paycheck purchasing power was fairly static between 1964 and 2018. Critically, wage gains have predominantly redounded to well-paid workers; middle and low-wage workers have seen much slower growth.
As traditional employment has lost its luster, going solo has become increasingly attractive to many. Self-employment brings autonomy and flexibility and can provide better pay in many instances. Historically, such advantages have come at a cost. Typically, traditional employment has been seen as more stable. But even this advantage may have eroded over the last few years. A 2021 recent survey showed that 68% of freelancers reported feeling “more secure” working independently – up from 32% in 2011. Intriguingly, 29% of salaried employees considered independent work less risky, too. Workers seem increasingly aware that their employers can dismiss them relatively easily and that diversified revenue streams provide some level of safety. Self-employed workers also tend to be more optimistic about their future; a McKinsey study found that more than 33% expected more opportunities to come their way over the next year compared to 20% of salaried employees.
Finally, independent work has been made considerably easier thanks to policy and technological innovations. The passage of the Affordable Care Act has made health insurance much more broadly available, for example. Additionally, startups have emerged to provide similar financial and health-related benefits for the solo worker, narrowing the gap between employee and freelancer. Tech has also helped freelancers better communicate and collaborate with clients and each other, making it a less lonely pursuit.
The pandemic poured gasoline onto this inflammatory set of dynamics. Businesses were suddenly forced to restructure and refocus. Workers spared from layoffs had to adapt to remote work and fresh pressures. Many questioned whether the career they’d devoted themselves to merited the time they’d given it – and discovered it didn’t. The “Great Reconsideration” led many to leave old jobs in favor of new ones – or to go it alone. “You’ve got people saying, ‘Now that I think about it, I have a bullshit job,’” Harvard Business School’s Joseph Fuller remarked of the mindset prompted by the pandemic. (Fuller is also an advisor of A.Team.)
A.Team sat at the center of these different forces. Tailwinds buffeted both the supply and demand sides of Ouzan’s marketplace. Never before had so much technical talent been so willing to try a new way of working. A swathe of elite designers, developers, product managers, and operators was suddenly keener than ever to work on their schedule from wherever they lived.
At the same time, companies needed on-demand talent to compensate for layoffs or implement a new direction. Critically, much of this work requires differentiated expertise; if you’re a pharmaceutical software company assisting the vaccine response, you don’t need a new logo. You need a team of exceptional practitioners to help you adapt quickly.
As it happens, one of A.Team’s first missions was serving exactly such a client. In early 2021, Apprentice, a platform for pharmaceutical companies, was tasked with creating a new version of its platform in 45 days. Not only was the revamped product critical to Apprentice’s business, it was of global importance, used to orchestrate the distribution of the covid vaccine. “We needed to get our product to market yesterday,” Apprentice CEO Angelo Stracquatanio remarked. With the help of an A.Team, Apprentice was able to meet that goal, aiding the pandemic response and strengthening its product. “A.Team deployed in a few days, ramped up immediately – and our product launched just over a month later. That would have been impossible with other hiring alternatives,” Stracquatanio added.
In short order, Ouzan’s firm won over a range of other clients, from promising startups to massive enterprises. Venture-backed coffee company Blank Street (which I am a fan of and investor in) leveraged A.Team to build the first version of its mobile product, for example. Lyft relied on A.Team to level up its hardware game. Crypto company Ledger relied on the firm to build a “remote control” app.
Those clients (and many others) set A.Team on an impressive trajectory. “We’ve had pretty much compounding growth since day one,” Ouzan said. After an impressive first year of operation in 2020, the firm grew more than 7x the year following.
That kind of traction draws attention. But despite A.Team’s hot growth, Ouzan again held off on raising. “I just kept telling our investors: ‘Not ready, not ready, not ready.’” The message changed as A.Team’s software developed and the business’s fundamental mechanics became clearer. “Once we understood our levers and how to become a $10 billion company, we were ready. Then it became about raising a round that would enable us to establish a category – the Team Economy.”
In May 2022, A.Team announced a $55 million Series A co-led by Insight Venture Partners and Tiger Global. “We wanted to work with the biggest funds, and the people at those funds with the smarts, access, and entrepreneurial spirit. It was about bringing people around the table that give you an unfair advantage.” A.Team added angels like Michael Ovitz and SpaceX VP of Human Resources Brian Bjelde to strengthen its consortium.
Though just over two years old, A.Team had been a lifetime in the making. From France to Israel, Unit 8200 to BillGuard, Raphael Ouzan’s journey orbited twin passions: the power of technology and the magic of great teams. A.Team gave Ouzan a chance to pursue both. In Jobs’s paradigm, A.Team connected the dots – and created a unique, lambent constellation.
Marketplace: How to A.Team
Bill Gurley knows a thing or two about marketplaces. Over Gurley’s legendary career at Benchmark, he invested in platforms like Uber, eBay, OpenTable, Yelp, Zillow, oDesk (which later became Upwork), GrubHub, and 1stdibs. In 2012, he published a list of ten factors to consider when making a marketplace investment. Though Gurley’s full piece is well-worth reading, here’s a “checklist” summary of his key points:
- Does the marketplace offer a new, enhanced experience? Great marketplaces don’t just digitally represent an existing market – they improve upon it. Example: Uber made it possible to hail a cab in seconds.
- Does the marketplace have economic advantages? Marketplaces are especially compelling when they are more cost-effective for the buyer or more profitable for the seller. Example: oDesk made it possible to hire worldwide, allowing for geographical arbitrage.
- Does the marketplace’s technology improve the product? By using new technology, digital marketplaces should be able to unlock new features. Example: Zillow adding rich data into the home buying process, or Uber leveraging smartphone GPS to match drivers and passengers.
- Is there fragmentation on both the supply and demand sides? (Too much concentration makes it hard for new entrants.) Example: Travel booking companies like Expedia tend to focus on hotels over flights as there is much greater fragmentation.
- How hard is it to sign up new supply? If adding new supply is low-friction, that’s beneficial in the short-term, making it easier for insurgents to gain a foothold. In the long term, successful companies can use a high-friction sign-up as a barrier to entry. Example: OpenTable had to sign up restaurant owners with little internet access and limited digital skill.
- How big is the viable market opportunity? While total addressable market (TAM) size matters, it’s also important to consider the dynamics of a given sector. Some large markets, like healthcare, are difficult to penetrate. Both size and viability should be assessed. Example: Many investors overlooked OpenTable because they were seen to be chasing a small TAM; Gurley argues that they miscalculated the percentage of the market the company could penetrate.
- Can the marketplace expand the opportunity? An assessment of current TAM may miss the opportunity for a disruptive company to grow the pie. Example: oDesk made it easier and cheaper to hire developers, allowing more companies to pay for remote freelancers.
- How frequently do customers transact on the marketplace? Ideally, customers need to transact with a marketplace frequently, building a relationship such that they treat it like a utility. Additionally, you’d ideally like situations in which customers are “promiscuous” (interested in connecting with multiple suppliers) rather than “monogamous” (want to find one supplier). Examples: GrubHub is a high-frequency marketplace where customers are promiscuous – they want to access multiple restaurants, not find and stick to one.
- Is the marketplace in the payment flow? It’s much easier to extract a fee when a part of the payment process. That makes the marketplace feel less like it’s levying a tax and more like a provider of value and revenue. Example: Airbnb funnels money to property owners, taking a fee as part of the process.
- Does the marketplace have network effects? Gurley further defines his question: “Can the marketplace provide a better experience to customer “n+1000” than it did to customer “n” directly as a function of adding 1000 more participants to the market?” Example: Yelp becomes more valuable to consumers the more ratings and reviews it aggregates.
It’s worth noting that even great marketplaces are unlikely to check all of these boxes. OpenTable may benefit from fragmentation, but had to struggle with high-friction sign-ups; Zillow leveraged technology to improve the home-buying product, but it’s a low-frequency transaction. Keeping that in mind, Gurley notes that “a 7 or 8 out of 10 would imply that your opportunity of success is much, much higher than if you only match 3 or 4 out of 10.”
So, how does A.Team score based on the checklist? Is Ouzan’s firm sitting near the top of the class or firing rubber bands from the back row?
To answer that question, we need to dig deeper into A.Team’s product, understanding the supply and demand side, how it works, and what kind of impact it has.
Let’s start with supply. In A.Team’s case, that’s high-caliber knowledge workers, or “builders” in the platform’s parlance. In particular, the company focuses on software developers, product managers, and designers. Joining the platform as a builder isn’t easy. Applicants must pass through a process that assesses experience and abilities. A.Team does this vetting so it can be confident in the talent it directs to hiring companies.
Anecdotally at least, A.Team has amassed extremely valuable supply. During research, I spoke with several builders, including Anthony Spadafino and Martin Strutz. Both have worked in impressive roles at leading tech companies: Spadafino as Head of Product Experience at Uber, Strutz as the co-founder of AND CO, and Director of Product at Fiverr. (Many quirky coincidences make me especially interested in A.Team; one of them is that Strutz is my old boss and a friend.)
You might wonder: why would experienced talents like Spadafino and Strutz choose to work on A.Team? Why do elite workers – with several professional options – elect to go through an application process rather than sign up directly for a platform like Fiverr?
Though every worker’s rationale differs slightly, five motivations are effectively universal:
- Maintaining independence and flexibility.
- Working on the most interesting projects.
- Earning more money.
- Being a part of a great team.
- Developing skills.
For Spadafino, independence and flexibility were key to joining A.Team. After six years at Uber, the product manager began to feel like it was time to build something of his own. However, with a baby on the way, forgoing a salary didn’t feel like a viable option. Spadafino was left debating between searching for another full-time gig to support his growing family and going all in on founding a business, potentially inviting financial instability.
A.Team solved the dilemma. “It gave me a way to dedicate part of my time to earning money for my family, and spend the rest building a business.” In addition to working on A.Team missions, Spadafino has been building Lingostar, a language learning platform powered by AI.
The desire for autonomy extends far beyond Spadafino. Before 2022, Noam Bardin was best known as the CEO of Waze, which Google acquired for $1.3 billion in 2013. Last year, he raised capital from a16z to take a crack at building a Twitter alternative, Post News. Given Bardin’s extensive experience at Google, Ouzan was intrigued that he sought out A.Team as a talent solution. Surely, Bardin knew plenty of gifted engineers he could call upon? “He told me, ‘when you’re at Google, all you know is Google.’ He valued the variety of experiences of our builders.” As it turned out, A.Team would do more than simply solve a short-term talent need; the platform’s builders came on as Bardin’s co-founders and founding team.
From Bardin’s vantage, A.Team’s appeal was obvious. “Highly-skilled engineers and product people want to work remotely,” he said. “They want to work flexible hours, and they don’t want to be locked in at one company.”
The opportunity to work on inspiring projects is another draw, especially compared to existing freelance platforms. While Fiverr and Upwork might be viable platforms if you’re looking for boilerplate copy and design work, they don’t tend to offer the chance to work on large, impactful problems. There’s no “gig” to work on vaccine delivery.
For Adam Grant, this was one of A.Team’s most powerful selling points. “Instead of selling your soul to one company, you can rent your skills to the highest bidder or the highest purpose,” he notes. Thanks to Ouzan’s impressive Rolodex and strong customer satisfaction – A.Team has brought fascinating, important projects aboard. In addition to its work with Apprentice during the pandemic, the platform has also served education publisher McGraw Hill’s attempt to create “TikTok for textbooks” and LifePoint Health’s mission to bring better technology to its sprawl of hospitals and health facilities. A.Teamers get to work on projects that, if successful, could impact millions of lives.
It doesn’t hurt that A.Team can also be extremely lucrative for builders. Product designer Olivier Boulais saw his annual earnings increase dramatically when he traded a gig-based freelance platform for A.Team, going from $100,000 to $244,000 in earnings per year. Another builder estimated they had earned as much as $400,000 on the platform.
A.Team can deliver this kind of revenue because of the projects it onboards. By focusing on high-difficulty tasks, the platform escapes competing on price with gig-based platforms. Instead, it’s vying against Accenture and McKinsey – or the staffing of a full-time tech team. “We’re selling to the CEO of a company,” investor Gigi Weiss noted. “When a buyer is evaluating A.Team, they’re thinking ‘how much can this accelerate my roadmap?’ That’s a very different sell.”
Working on great projects for good money is a winning formula, but A.Team takes it a step further. By signing up as a builder, you’re not only taking on great missions; you’re getting to work with other talented people. This differentiated structure distinguishes A.Team from other products. It acts as an antidote to the loneliness and disconnection of freelancing. In addition to forming teams of practitioners, A.Team actively hosts events and offers curated introductions to create additional network capital.
Martin Strutz’s first and longest A.Team mission was with coffee company Blank Street. He remarked that working on that project “really felt like an integrated team.” A.Teamers and full-time employees collaborated easily to build a compelling product, creating genuine relationships in the process. “The people there are amazing,” Strutz added. He noted that he’d made several other good connections across his A.Team engagements.
Finally, A.Team offers freelancers the chance to develop their knowledge and craft. Given builders often come from fast-paced, innovative work environments, supporting self-growth is important. It arrives via structured and unstructured avenues. A.Team provides workshops for its builders, but the most impactful development comes from working on new projects. Spadafino highlighted this as a benefit of working at A.Team. “It’s a great learning opportunity,” he remarked. “There are products I’ve implemented for a client that I’ve ended up using in my own startup.”
It’s time to turn to the demand side. The appeal for customers is straightforward: A.Team makes it easy to hire gifted builders flexibly and at a lower cost.
Imagine you’re the Chief Innovation Officer of a Fortune 500 tasked with reinvigorating a legacy business line. How would you do it? Here are a few options:
- Pull together an internal team. You might choose to assemble in-house talent to tackle the problem. While this would be the fastest way to get started, it might not be the most effective. Large incumbent businesses often don’t have the most innovative tech talent ready; the best developers tend to go to Google and Stripe, not CVS Health.
- Hire new full-time employees. Ok, so you don’t have the right talent on-hand – but maybe you can hire it? That may be tricky. As mentioned, many large companies are not preferred destinations for digital workers. It’s also expensive and inflexible. If your project hits a speed bump (or worse), winding it down will likely be complicated.
- Hire a traditional consulting firm or agency. When a big company needs to make an important decision, they’ve historically sought the help of large consultancies like McKinsey, Bain, or Accenture. While they can conduct valuable research, implementation is usually beyond their remit, particularly regarding cutting-edge tech. Agencies can help ship products, but they don’t tend to be nimble, startup-style operations. Both are expensive.
- Assemble a collection of individual contractors. You may decide you can cook up a flexible solution yourself, cobbling together freelancers from gig-based platforms and referrals. That is likely to be an exercise in frustration. Expect wide variations in quality and difficulties coordinating different parties. If any part of your project requires collaboration, you’ll have to figure out how to bring these disparate practitioners into a cohesive team.
A.Team has introduced a fifth way. It offers high-caliber talent at a lower price than old-school consultancies, united as a team. Critically, this talent is not just there to survey, observe, or consult – they’re there to build. Instead of pulling together a PowerPoint or Excel model, A.Team builds products, putting ideas in contact with reality.
This is one of the things I find most compelling about A.Team. The company has created a platform powerful enough to solve the difficult problems McKinsey advises on but is equipped to build solutions. It makes the best of Silicon Valley – the energy, experimentation, iteration, and invention – accessible to the rest of the corporate world.
That service has been invaluable for Justin Singh, Chief Transformation Officer at McGraw Hill. When Singh was tasked with creating a new consumer education product, he knew he wanted to bring in outside support. While his team knew the education sector inside and out, he recognized that they didn’t have a strong grasp of how to build delightful social apps – especially ones likely to appeal to picky teenagers.
Harvard Business School Professor Joe Fuller remarked on the frequency of such talent challenges. “Historically, companies have provided staff to bolster their internal team in their efforts to address strategic challenges,” he remarked. “Unfortunately, the internal resources available to management are not up to the task. Augmenting an internal group that lacks the skills and capabilities to address a problem is a well-meaning, but ultimately ineffective step.”
Singh recognized the need to find an external solution and set about surveying his options – a process that led to A.Team. “We looked at traditional agencies and outsourced vendors to do it…I didn’t want to lock ourselves into a multimillion-dollar contract without even knowing if students liked it.” Ouzan’s firm offered a more cost-effective and agile alternative.
Over several months, a team of product managers and engineers worked iteratively with Singh’s team, drawing up prototypes, testing early versions, and eventually shipping a brand-new product. In October 2022, McGraw Hill launched Sharpen, a video learning platform that brings TikTok-style functionality to education. Forbes even covered the launch.
Though Sharpen is still in its early days as a product, the initiative has already succeeded in Singh’s eyes. He cited the “sheer number of students that signed up with almost $0 CAC” as a notable achievement. Even more important was the positive response from users. “The biggest impact is the feedback from the students,” he said. “It’s easily the most uplifting thing for my team.” As Singh thinks about Sharpen’s future, A.Team seems likely to be at the heart of it. “The core A.Team really cares about Sharpen. They care about our McGraw Hill people, and we care for them. As a leader, that’s what you’re trying to create…I think it’s a differentiating point.”
Lifepoint’s Jessie Beegle has found A.Team similarly impactful. After building a career at some of the world’s most technically advanced organizations, including Amazon Web Services and Google’s Deepmind, Beegle traded Silicon Valley for Nashville, Tennessee. As Lifepoint’s Chief Innovation Officer, she was tasked with modernizing the software used by the firm’s clinicians.
Beegle knew she would have very different resources at her disposal. “When I look back at the folks I know in tech, they typically go to the Googles, Amazons, and Facebooks of the world,” she said. “They want to solve these kinds of big problems, but they’re not going to go to Johnson & Johnson.” They didn’t tend to go to Lifepoint either.
A.Team provided an ideal solution. Lifepoint issued a mission on the platform and was matched with a team of builders. Beegle and her team have been impressed by how quickly that experiment yielded results. “The team created a demo in seven days,” she said, much to the surprise and delight of Lifepoint’s leadership. “I didn’t have [in-house] developers where I could create a demo that was beautiful and functional that quickly.” In the months since, Lifepoint has continued to rely on A.Team to hone its approach. Beegle sees the platform as a game-changer. “This is something that changes the way we look at problems,” she added. “It gives us the ability to move quickly…[And turns our ideas] into something tangible and real.”
Matching and managing
Before returning to Gurley’s checklist, we need to go deeper into A.Team’s platform to better understand how matches are made and talent is managed.
The best compliment I can give to A.Team on this subject is that it works just how you’d want it to. The team has crafted a thoughtful, intuitive platform that reduces complexity and makes it easy to take action.
As a builder, you’re given a simple way to browse and apply for new missions that fit your skill set. You can see what a given company is looking for and hear why you might find it exciting. A neat dashboard shows you how much you worked, tracks your total earnings, and helps you manage any contract details.
Clients have a similarly slick interface. After outlining a project’s scope and identifying the roles you expect to need, you’re delivered a suggested team within seven days. If you’re unsure where to start, you can use a template, effectively making building a team as easy as spinning up a new Notion doc. Once the team is in place, you can easily adjust the scope, add new builders, or make other modifications. Issuing contracts, communicating with builders, and handling payouts can all be managed from the same platform.
You might be wondering at this point: how does A.Team create a high-performing team? How does it optimize for cohesion, skill sets, time zones, available hours, pricing, and experience? It is hard enough to match one person to an open position – how do you match five or more to the client and each other?
Early in A.Team’s life, Raphael Ouzan set about trying to solve that problem. “We looked for tools that would help us create a better than random atmosphere. Even tapping our advisory network, we didn’t find anything significant.” Existing HR tech companies focused on the individual, not the interplay of dynamics within a group.
A.Team’s only option was to build a solution of its own: TeamGraph. With the assistance of human curation, the AI-powered algorithm leverages A.Team’s formidable data set to create high-functioning teams that can get up to speed quickly. Rather than trying to match purely based on experience, TeamGraph pulls in social and emotional cues: which builders know each other, for example, or what problems you’re most motivated to work on. This information helps it assemble teams in days (and “soon, even less,” according to Ouzan) compared to the weeks traditional consultancies may take. Notably, by factoring in builders’ past experiences working together, TeamGraph considers which constellation might be able to ramp up fastest. It’s a clever way of shortening the time to value.
TeamGraph’s value doesn’t stop once a team has been formed. The algorithm constantly monitors a team’s performance – and changes in the broader A.Team talent pool – so it can proactively recommend builders suited to join the project.
Over time, TeamGraph should become even more powerful. Builders rate how much they enjoyed working together, and clients evaluate the team’s performance. The algorithm should improve as more connections are built, and more data is fed into the system. Moreover, Ouzan noted that he expects the algorithm to eventually pull in a client’s organizational data, making it possible for A.Team to suggest how freelancers might fit in with full-time employees, contributing to the creation of effective blended teams.
While it’s still too early to assess this engine’s true power, it’s a compelling idea: an automated way to build effective, performant units across contexts.
It’s time to issue a report card. With our new knowledge of A.Team, what grade could the company expect on Bill Gurley’s marketplace examination? Let’s revisit his questions.
- Does the marketplace offer a new, enhanced experience? Yes. A.Team makes it exponentially easier to assemble a team of builders and manage their efforts. There is no strong direct alternative to its product suite.
- Does the marketplace have economic advantages? Yes. Based on customer conversations, A.Team is more economical than traditional consultancies or agencies. Though it’s more expensive than a gig-based platform like Fiverr, it’s not a substitute for that service.
- Does the marketplace’s technology improve the product? Yes. Without technology managing contracts, communication, payments, and many other features, creating A.Teams would be extremely difficult. A.Team has also invested in building unique team creation technology with TeamGraph. That could prove a real technological innovation.
- Is there fragmentation on both the supply and demand sides? Yes. There are large numbers of talented builders and willing clients. Neither side is locked in by existing substitutes: a talented freelancer can switch from Upwork to A.Team and an unhappy company can choose A.Team over Accenture.
- How hard is it to sign up new supply? Not very. A.Team’s value proposition resonates with builders, especially given the absence of direct substitutes. Freelancers can be onboarded digitally and automatically. To date, A.Team has purposefully limited how many builders it brings aboard to ensure a very high standard. It may be able to relax this over time.
- How big is the viable market opportunity? Very large. Virtually every major company is interested in exceptional talent at a lower cost – especially when it can be provisioned flexibly. The continued mainstreaming of freelancing and remote work should allow A.Team to penetrate a meaningful percentage of the market. The size of large consultancies like McKinsey shows there is plenty of money to be made in solving these kinds of problems.
- Can the marketplace expand the opportunity? Yes. Given the advantages of contract work on both the supply and demand sides, it’s reasonable to expect it may become more popular in the coming years. Just as oDesk increases the market size for low-value freelancing, A.Team can do the same for the top end of the market.
- How frequently do customers transact on the marketplace? Not very. A.Team missions are, by definition, complex and time-consuming. They often last several months or longer. This isn’t a high-volume play like DoorDash. It is worth noting, however, that while the frequency of transactions is low compared to ride-sharing or food delivery, the number of interactions is very high. Clients may log into A.Team several times a day to manage their team, making it a different kind of utility.
- Is the marketplace in the payment flow? Yes. A.Team sends an invoice to clients every two weeks. Once submitted, this money is distributed to builders, net of A.Team’s fee. As Gurley writes, “If you bring the cash, you are the king.” A.Team brings the cash – indeed, a new beta feature guarantees builders are paid every two weeks.
- Does the marketplace have network effects? Yes. The 5,000th customer on A.Team should have a better experience than the 100th. They will have more builders to choose from, and assuming TeamGraph improves with more data, a more cohesive team. It is worth noting, however, that there could be some negative network effects beyond a certain point. If A.Team scaled supply into the millions, quality might go down. We’ll discuss this shortly.
Although Ouzan doesn’t seem to have had Gurley’s framework in mind when conceiving of A.Team, he’s built a business that almost perfectly matches it. A.Team ticks 9 of the 10 boxes pretty perfectly; even the one it doesn’t (high frequency) is partially mitigated. While scoring top marks is no guarantee of success, it demonstrates the soundness undergirding A.Team. Though Ouzan’s company may look to emulate Building 20’s generativeness, its business structure is made of stone, not plywood.
Future and risks: The scenius machine
Because of its traction, influence, and product sophistication, A.Team often seems like a more mature company. It feels like a six-or-seven-year-old business rather than one just hitting its third birthday. As a result, it can be easy to forget just how much of the company’s grand plan has yet to be touched. As we said at the outset, Ouzan does not want to build another talent marketplace – he wants to forge a place for the world’s best innovators, a team-building machine. To reach that juncture, some of A.Team’s most audacious bets will need to pay off. It must also avoid some clear pitfalls.
In November 2022, Ouzan announced a new initiative. In front of the audience at Web Summit in Lisbon, A.Team’s CEO outlined his vision for a “CxO Network.” In addition to hiring a team of builders, clients use A.Team to call in a heavy hitter – someone with deep corporate leadership experience capable of crafting an audacious vision. CxOs include Angelique Bellmer Krembs, a former Pepsi CMO; Meng Chee, the former CPO at Walmart; Jennie Dearborn, SAP’s long-time Chief Talent Officer; and Dan Becker, Head of Product Design at Instagram. Post News’s Noam Bardin and Lyft’s former Chief Product Officer Ran Makavy are also aboard.
Ouzan brought Jen Snow aboard to run the new division. The former CTO of AFWERX (the U.S. Air Force’s Innovation Wing) is tasked with turning this experiment into a valuable, enduring product line.
The early indications are promising. Snow mentioned that A.Team had added a CxO to a team serving a Fortune 50 business. “You had a team that got a little bit stuck. They needed some outside perspective,” she said. Introducing a CxO transformed the engagement, injecting new energy and fresh ideas.
Despite targeting an extremely senior group of builders for the supply side of this new network, Snow is optimistic about repeating that success. “It can be very lonely at the top,” she said. “These CEOs, CMOs, and CFOs – they’re at a point where they have twenty-plus years of experience. They want to give back.”
Just as A.Team’s core product feels like a reinvention of management consulting, the CxO Network reads like a renovation of GLG and other expert networks. For context, GLG connects experts to clients that need access to that expertise via phone or video calls. Experts are paid handsomely for their time but ultimately act merely as advisors. They do not engage in product building. Once again, A.Team brings this form of consultancy into contact with reality, creating a way for experts to apply their knowledge.
Beyond the CxO Network, A.Team is quietly putting in place other high-impact bets. As mentioned, it has built tooling to connect A.Teamers, creating a fenced-off LinkedIn. As more builders come onto the platform, these features could be increasingly powerful, making it easier for innovators to manifest micro-scenius.
Additionally, the software A.Team is building may have use beyond the company. The expected increase in blended teams should grow the demand for orchestration tools. While independent startups could emerge to fill this need, A.Team feels well-placed to provide an operating system for the modern workforce. Large organizations that want to manage their entire staff’s hours and payments, create new internal teams, and add outside support, may find A.Team’s infrastructure especially potent.
A.Team has done a great deal right so far. The startup ecosystem is in constant flux, however, and companies that look well-positioned one day may appear vulnerable the next. As Ouzan surveys his business, three risks are worth monitoring.
The first is existential: A.Team must maintain high-caliber supply. To be clear, Ouzan should not expect to keep precisely the same level. Expanding the market will eventually lower the quality bar given where A.Team started. What A.Team can’t do is allow quality to drop to the level of gig-based platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. The moment it is considered analogous to those companies, it becomes known as a low-cost staffing option rather than a purveyor of innovation. A.Team should constantly aim to be compared to McKinsey, Bain, IDEO, and the like – it can only stay in such elevated company if the quality of supply remains high. In many respects, the CxO Network feels like a conscious effect to counteract this dynamic, adding even more elite talent to the mix. A.Team’s brand must also remain premium for the same reasons.
It’s worth noting that some experts don’t see this as a particularly pronounced risk for A.Team. Professor Fuller suggested that A.Team’s high bar should result in acquiring more high-quality talent, rather than less. “All my research confirms that top talent wants to spend their time working on interesting/challenging issues with people of equivalent talent,” he said. “They want to work on the hardest challenges with the best talent. ATeam provides a curated path to such talent to precisely the opportunities they aspire to.” At least for some time, then, A.Team may be able to expand without a meaningful reduction in quality.
A.Team must invest in building real technological advantages. Fundamentally, A.Team’s core value comes from the human capital it can coalesce, organize, and deploy. Because of that, there may be a temptation to under-invest in technology. After all, to grow revenue, you only need to find more freelancers and clients, right?
That would be a mistake. While a decent-sized firm could be built, A.Team would resemble a staffing firm more than a tech company. The former tend to be valued at much lower levels and don’t attract the same venture funding or talent.
Ouzan doesn’t seem likely to fall into this trap. He is, fundamentally, a technologist; it’s worth recalling that he was CTO at BillGuard, not CEO. Indeed, A.Team’s product is already extremely robust, which makes it very different from a staffing firm. If newer aspects like the TeamGraph algorithm pay off fully, this distinctiveness will only become clearer. Ouzan must make sure that his platform for innovators continues to innovate on itself.
Finally, A.Team must ensure it does not get stuck in a VC “no man’s land.” Though A.Team has not disclosed its valuation, the timing, size, and composition of its last round suggest it was elevated. A $55 million Series A closed in late 2021, with Insight Venture Partners and Tiger Global onboard? Some assumptions are safe to make.
Like other businesses that raised during the last cycle, A.Team must ensure it has enough capital to grow into a valuation that may not hold in a chillier environment. Failing to do so might require raising a flat or down round which can impact brand and hiring.
Given A.Team’s traction, this doesn’t seem likely. As mentioned, the firm grew 7x in 2021 and 3x in 2022. Given the Series A round’s timing, it likely didn’t factor in any of the most recent year’s growth. Assuming A.Team maintains its growth and doesn’t spend excessively, Ouzan should be able to raise a strong round. Given the CEO’s prior entrepreneurial experience, he’s unlikely to be intimidated by the current market dynamics.
This last point is worth emphasizing when considering how A.Team will handle the challenges that inevitably come its way. Across my interviews, subjects were emphatic in their belief in Ouzan’s leadership. “[He] was a big reason I selected A.Team,” McGraw Hill’s Justin Singh said. “I wanted someone to match my ambition.” Lifepoint’s Jessie Beegle highlighted Ouzan’s humility and integrity: “One of the first things that struck me about him was how humble he is…He really earns people’s trust.”
Dozens of other quotes speak to Ouzan’s creativity, passion, and vision. He has built a culture obsessed with its customers and its product. Notably, Ouzan himself is technically a freelancer at A.Team, and in a rather meta arrangement, A.Team uses A.Team to build A.Team. The teenager that left his home country in search of a team has built a strong one of his own.
It is not an exaggeration to say that most business problems are talent problems in disguise. The failed feature, chaotic launch, and sub-optimal strategy may produce plenty of collateral – documents and decks, spreadsheets and marketing plans – but they are ultimately reducible to humans. To abstract, immaterial things like intelligence, empathy, savvy, and energy – and how those traits interact inside and across people. In other words, these problems can be traced to talent or its absence.
It begs the question: what problems could we solve with the right team? What failures could be diverted or remedied if talent could be provisioned like AWS? What successes might manifest in their place?
A.Team permits the world to start answering these questions. Raphael Ouzan’s marketplace brings together the exceptional and inventive, and provides the infrastructure for them to extend their abilities beyond the confines of an organization. In doing so, A.Team not only allows organizations to benefit from talent, but talent multiplied, forged into a team. If A.Team succeeds to its fullest potential, it will change how we work, hire, build, and collaborate. It may even seed a new kind of scenius, constructed not of cement but of software.
The Generalist’s work is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should always do your own research and consult advisors on these subjects. Our work may feature entities in which Generalist Capital, LLC or the author has invested.