The Obvious Corporation, the startup incubator and investment vehicle headed up by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and former Twitter exec Jason Goldman that has become an umbrella company of sorts to a number of buzzy startups including Medium, Branch, and Lift, is shifting gears, according to a blog post written today by Williams.
What exactly is happening comes across as a bit vague — which is fitting, as Obvious’ mission was purposefully vague at the time that it was launched (or rather, re-launched) in 2011, and over the years those involved have mostly preferred to let the corporation’s work and products speak for themselves. But the general gist is that as far as the focus of its founders, Obvious as an entity is taking a backseat to the individual startups it has produced and funded.
Medium, the Obvious-incubated next-generation publishing platform, is now operating as its own standalone company with Ev Williams spending “98 percent” of his time there. Some 30 staffers who previously were hired as Obvious employees are now working as full-time Medium employees.
Meanwhile, as we’ve reported previously, Stone is working on a new company called Jelly. Goldman, for his part, is spending the bulk of his time helping to lead Branch from New York City and currently looking for an additional company to work with.
The more general collaborative relationship between Goldman, Stone, and Williams will continue to be called “Obvious,” the blog post says, but the entity as a corporation seems to be winding down, or at least scaling back. He explained how they will continue to work together and detailed Obvious’ affiliations like this:
“…the collaboration between Biz, Jason, and myself — which we call ‘Obvious’ — continues… Besides Medium, Branch, and Jelly, we have working relationships with Lift (of which I’m on the board), Beyond Meat and GoodFit (of which Biz is on the board) and Neighborland. We also have a handful of less-active partnerships with entrepreneurs we were lucky enough to angel invest in, like Findery, LaunchPad Toys, and Faraday Bikes. (There are a couple more, which we’ll announce when the time is right.)”
Via email today, Williams told TechCrunch that there are no hard feelings involved in the change — that it’s been a natural evolution over the past several months. In his blog post, he elaborated a bit on the reasons for the shift:
“Turns out, we like focus. We rebooted Obvious in 2011 with a vague plan. We started investing, incubating, and experimenting to figure out what worked and what we wanted to do at this stage in our careers; we just knew we wanted to work together do stuff that mattered.
Among other things, the first few months taught us that we gravitated toward diving in more deeply on a small number of things — rather than having a lighter touch on many ventures.”
It’ll be exciting to see what the next chapter will bring for all involved here.