March 30, 2022
March 11, 2021

Planting Seeds 🌱 ー February 2021 Update Letter

Hi everyone! It's early March now, but finally getting the chance to write about February ✨

Though it was the shortest month, it was perhaps one of the most dense months in terms of events happening that I've had in a long while.

So many things came to pass.

Let's break into that a bit :)

What we've been up to

This month has been about planting the right seeds for our garden and tidying things up for the future.

The highlights:

  • Niko & Rei welcomed a new human into the world
  • Opened & closed our seed round
  • Started publishing new units consistently
  • Had the highest sales month since launch
  • Found focus for the company: a path to long term sustainability

Unpacking that a bit:

First off, congrats to Niko and Rei! 🎉

Secondly, new Units coming out has been awesome. So fun. The dream is real and no longer a dream.

Lastly, if you remember from last post, I mentioned our seed round, we were looking to raise $300,000. We managed to raise $325,000 with Earnest Capital as our lead investor and the rest from angel investors within our very own community! Which is really, really neat. Massive thank to everyone who reached out and for the support from everyone.

Up until this point, we'd been entirely self-funded. From revenue + any personal capital Niko and I have had. Literally all of it went into getting NativShark to where it is, we gave our all. There was no Plan B. It feels good that we were able to build an actually valuable product, that thousands of people use and are learning from that generates revenue. Pretty neat.

For us though, now the work really begins. We're just over a year into this company, and the product hasn't even been out for a year. We're supremely focused. The intention is to never need to raise again. We're building for sustainability over the long run, not falling into the traps of hyper growth as we once did. Someday I'll write a lot more in depth about our experiences. The how and the why of funding vs. not funding. There's a lot there haha.

In any event, we aren't profitable yet, so we're operating on a runway, and we do need to see continued growth in subscriptions / MRR to close the gap but just like with learning a language, we'll stay consistent, put out iterative updates and we'll get there.

For those of you who like stats, here they are:

The main team staff is now Niko, Rei, Caleb, Chie, Ty and Jacob. The rest is done by contractors on an as-needed basis.

Generally speaking I'm just glad things are in a good place. We have a solid base to build from. And yeah, it's nice to personally get paid again for the first time in months haha. We've been making it work and there was never any doubt that we'd make it with NativShark eventually, but until now there have always been so many variables and paths to deal with, so many things to think about.

Now it's about executing the plan over time, working towards profitability and making a sustainable business with everyone ✨

It's all possible. Stay consistent. Be open to the possibilities and always adjust as needed.

What's coming up

We're working on fully stabilizing the current NativShark experience which we're calling "NativShark 1.0". In other words, paying down our remaining tech debt.

When we're done, we shouldn't have the random audio issues, or other issues that show up occasionally with students not getting new units when they should. If you're interested, you can always check out our issue tracker on

We've identified the causes of these things and now it's just a matter of time until we get them fixed.

Once that's done, Jacob and I will begin work on "NativShark 2.0 - The Great Rewrite".

With all the experience we've gained over the past year, the clarity that has come to the product, and the vision we have, we'll be more or less rebuilding NativShark from scratch the way it deserves to be built. This will take a while, which is why we're fully stabilizing the current platform before doing so.

All in all, we're super excited for it and get wait to get started. It feels like the beginning again, except this time, we know what we're up against and have sound experience and architectural decisions to guide us in the context of our product.

I'm very proud of what the team has built with NativShark 1.0. Someday, 2.0 will exist and the transition will be seamless for students.

So. Immediate focus: fix all the bugs! Future focus: cool new features we've all wanted for so long! (like a placement test, yay!)

On the content side of things, the focus is on optimizing for getting to one new unit published a day. It'll take a bit yet to get there, but we're making progress toward that goal.

We've almost fully priced what it costs to make one unit. Once we've done that, we'll know the per unit cost and when the pipeline is in full operation, we'll be able to turn up the production speed dial based on how much cashflow is available. Increased cashflow comes from getting more student subscriptions. So once that's all in place, student subscriptions will directly correlate to how quickly we can produce new content.

We're thinking of a cool way to share this information with the community so we can set milestones together and even have like "community goals" where we celebrate stuff together. As you know, we're building with and for our community :)

And with that, thanks everyone!

See you in the next one.

~ Caleb

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