May 2016 - Present
As I type this, Handwrite is approaching 4 years since its inception.
Mid-May 2016, I bussed up to New York to visit my good friend, killer developer and entrepreneur Jackson Geller. As we were catching up, he showed me a website called Bond.co. It was a service that let you send out ‘handwritten’ cards, written by robots with pen and paper. They let you select from a number of TrueType fonts that mimicked the real thing, type in your message, and send a card completely digitally.
We were intrigued by the potential to create a more authentic, realistic handwriting and to do it in a more scalable way. So we decided that we wanted to take a stab at it - 6 weeks, we said. We’ll be able to do it.
Jackson selflessly put in time and money, backing the venture for an entire year as I worked out kinks in our own handwriting machine while living out of a shed, worked on creating an algorithm to realistically synthesize handwriting from scratch, and figured out which market segment to pursue (don’t do what I did, have this question answered first). We amicably agreed that it was becoming more difficult for him to continue putting in time and effort after his crazy days at a startup job. It was taking longer than expected, and it was very hardware-heavy. In January of 2017, I opened up Basereach LLC. I can’t thank Jackson enough.
I continued to work on the handwriting quality, the handwriting robots, failed several times to keep up with larger orders, and eventually managed to scrape together a kludgy website to allow people to order online.
I dropped out of UMD in January 2018 to pursue the venture full time. That summer, I changed the working name from Basereach to Handwrite - much more intutive, much cleaner. KISS. That was also the same summer when my first ever customer introduced me to a pair of angel investors. We raised a pre-seed round in October of 2018. I moved out of the shed and in with my girlfriend that December in time to meet the New Year.
In August 2019, I met my co-founder Will Wallace. Truly a fantastic guy and a true professional. It’s thanks to him that Handwrite looks like this and is such a joy to use. In September, Handwrite moved out of me and my girlfriend’s apartment and into a real office. We’re sending thousands of cards a month, connecting our users to their customers and clients with a human touch.
More updates to come.