Farewell from Grain
A brief reflection and humble note of appreciation.
In 2014, we set out to create a simple, social way to invest in the stock market. We believed the main reason people don’t invest earlier is they don’t know where to start. So we created Grain to demystify the process and empower people to control their own portfolios. Unfortunately, in the end, Grain did not live up to expectations.
I’m hopeful that technology and innovation continue to drive towards a better financial future for our generation. The burden of financial literacy is not squarely on the shoulders of consumers. It’s the responsibility of every company to build products that foster transparency and accessibility.
It saddens me to admit Grain will not contribute to that future. We have made the very difficult decision to sunset the Grain investing app.
Why are we moving on?
The short answer is we were unable to secure the funding to continue developing a better product.
The long answer is, as most things in life, more complex. I won’t dive deeper into those thoughts here. Instead, I will simply say I learned countless lessons along the way and take full responsibility for the end result.
From South Bend to Silicon Valley, I’m proud of what we accomplished, but even more so, I’m grateful for the community that supported us along the way.
Notre Dame alumni, faculty, and professors — Tim who joined weekly summer Skype sessions after his course inspired our idea. Gerald who pushed us to take the first leap as full-time entrepreneurs and whose unwavering confidence made us believe in endless possibilities. Karen who put us in front of Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful and was our biggest supporter through Notre Dame’s McCloskey Business Plan Competition. Gary and Brendan who graciously sponsored our McCloskey awards. Drew who donated his time and legal counsel before a company even existed. Richard and Barbara who embraced us when we moved to California, introduced us to Silicon Valley legends, offered steady guidance through good times and bad, and even opened their home to us for Thanksgiving dinner.
Grain team members and interns, no matter at what stage of the company or for what period of time — Conner, Joe, Amie, Michelle, Stephanie, Maribeth, Mike, Olivia, Santi, Natalie, Kevin, David, Ty, Fed, Nicole, and Dave who kept the flame burning with a willingness to bring their talents to an ambitious project with an uncertain future.
Startup accelerator organizers and selection teams at Plug & Play and INV Fintech — Alireza, Shelby, Laura, JJ, Phil, and Shelli who bought into our vision of financial inclusion and created an ecosystem that gave Grain the best possible chance to succeed. In the chaotic setting of entrepreneurship, I was inspired by the boldness of other founders in these programs who were resilient enough to plow through inevitable steady doses of stinging rejection.
Advisors and mentors — Geeta who crafted our provisional patent. Buddy who coached our presentations. Mike and Mike who both connected us to the world of fintech in Chicago. And Joe who sat with us over coffee in Sausalito and conveyed wisdom from a long, successful career in trading and wealth management.
Friends and family who offered daily words of encouragement, even when I was too absorbed in work to tell you how much it meant to me. It meant everything.
And of course, our financial backers who made all of this possible.
Thank you everyone for the time, money, advice, and support you contributed to this incredible journey. I’m disappointed in the result, but it has been a privilege to walk down this path with you all.
I look forward to using what I learned to embrace the next chapter of my life, wherever it may lead.
Joe and The Grain Team