- Justin Fineberg quit his job as product manager job at Blade to start Cassidy, a startup that helps businesses create their own AI assistants.
- Here’s how Fineberg made the switch to a career in AI, as told to Insider’s Aaron Mok.
- This essay is part of the “5 Trends to Bet Your Career On” series.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Justin Fineberg, a 25-year-old who quit his job as a product manager job at Blade to start Cassidy, an AI company based in New York. Insider verified his company’s funding and the number of people on waitlist through documentation. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
Earlier this year, I quit my job as a product manager at Blade to start my own AI company. It was a very intense moment, but I felt like it was now or never.
My AI journey began in December 2020, when I got early access to the beta version of OpenAI’s GPT-3, a large language model. I thought the model was absolutely magic. Playing around with the artificial intelligence and seeing what I could do with it was a head-exploding moment.
Months later, after getting my degree in business administration from the University of Michigan, I enrolled in a coding bootcamp, where I was first introduced to the world of software engineering and product development.
At the beginning of 2022, I started working at Blade, the Uber for helicopters, as a product manager. I worked between the company’s engineering and design teams to build out its internal products and its app.
In November 2022, when ChatGPT officially came out, I noticed many were eager to learn more about the AI chatbot. At the time, there was a lack of voices in the AI space across social media, and I saw an opportunity to make content about AI on my TikTok and Instagram pages. Videos I’ve made on ChatGPT prompts, AI tips for businesses, and the latest AI developments amounted to millions of views. In turn, I gained over 220,000 followers on TikTok and more than 115,000 on Instagram.
Quitting my job to start an AI company felt like jumping off a cliff
Months later, it was clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career in AI. I was very excited about what was going on in the AI space, and I had a clear idea of the AI company I wanted to start.
In February of this year, I quit my job to focus on building the company from scratch.
Quitting my job to start an AI company felt like jumping off a cliff. Still, I had so much confidence in AI seeing how the technology has changed how people live and work, and my goal has always been to start a company. I knew that if I didn’t do it now, I would regret it for the rest of my life.
As of November 2023, things are looking really good. In March, my cofounder and I raised $625,000 in funding backed by the startup accelerator Neo. From there, Cassidy — a tool businesses can use to create their own customizable AI assistants without code — was born.
While Cassidy.ai doesn’t have a public launch date just yet, we have offered early access to select businesses interested in trying it out. So far, companies big and small are using the product to create AI that automates tasks for their customer support, marketing, and legal teams, and there are thousands still on the waitlist. We even hired a graphic designer, software engineers, a customer success manager, and a content creator, and are continuing to hire for many open roles.
OpenAI wont kill my startup as long as my product is great
Even though we’re seeing competition in AI, I’m more focused on building out the best product. There are many people entering the AI space, and since OpenAI announced its latest version of ChatGPT, everybody has been saying that thousands of startups will die. Yet, I simply don’t believe that’s true. There’s so much opportunity in AI and to think that one company is going to win it all is just false.
My general advice for anybody building AI is to block out the noise. Don’t listen to anyone who’s saying your startup is going to die. Keep focused on building a great product and you will ultimately succeed.
And for those who aren’t starting companies but want to break into AI, be the go-to AI person at your current employer. Every company is currently thinking about their AI strategies, and knowing how to use AI to automate your company’s workflows is a great place to start.