- Jack Altman quit his job to launch his own company after a “soul searching” conversation with his boss.
- Today, Altman is the CEO of $1 billion Lattice, an HR platform with customers like Slack and Reddit.
- Now he’s incentivizing his own employees to quit and launch startups — offering $100,000 in funding each.
Jack Altman was VP of business development at e-commerce company Teespring when he had a “soul searching” conversation with his boss that changed everything.
After confiding that he didn’t feel “fully settled” in his career, Altman’s boss poised questions that made him reconsider his path: What were his values? What was important to him? And what did he want out of his work?
“Ultimately, his full acknowledgement was that if I wanted to start my own company, there is no way we can offer you that from inside a company,” Altman said.
So Altman quit his job and went on to cofound Lattice, a performance management platform that’s attracted top customers like
and Reddit and is worth $1 billion today. And now, he wants to extend that same entrepreneurial support he got six years ago to his 470 employees — except he’s backing it up with cash. The CEO is offering a $100,000 investment to any employee who quits to launch their own business.
“We’ve hired a lot of really entrepreneurial people over the years who maybe weren’t quite ready to start their own company,” Altman said. “And now I thought that this was a nice and easy way to put our money where our mouth is and say that we mean it when we say you should start your own company.”
Altman tells Insider that to receive the funding, an employee has to start a company within a year of leaving Lattice. The company typically invests $100,000 at a $5 million valuation, retaining equity as per any traditional venture investment. But Altman notes the $100,000 doesn’t necessarily have to come through a funding round.
And while the initiative itself is relatively new, two employees have already taken Altman up on his offer. The company’s former head of product left to launch data startup Sensible in January 2020, and a marketing lead quit to pursue his own marketing startup Dock in August 2021.
While many tech companies struggle with keeping employees, Altman doesn’t believe giving his employees an “incentive to quit” will hurt retention.
“I don’t think that this is risky from a retention perspective, because employees who want to start companies tend to be motivated to do that regardless,” Altman said. “So this is just us wanting to be supportive by showing that we care about the person first and as an employee second.”
In the future, he hopes employees continue to take him up on the offer, and he stresses the importance of patience for those who do.
“What I like to remind people is to try and remember what worked in the early days. Because they are leaving a company with 500 employees and are now back to a two person startup,” Altman said. “It’s important to go back to the beginning mentally, and do all the things that don’t scale immediately.”
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