Have an idea / already building a great business?
Scout program – earn $2,000

TLDR: I’ll pay you $2,000 if you refer someone whom Optionality Partners invests in!

Optionality Partners is a start-up studio / incubator. I, Yishi Zuo, invest money and time to help people start businesses from scratch.

Even if you don’t ever see yourself starting a company, this article will be useful because you can participate in Optionality’s Scout (paid referral) Program. 

My unique focus and approach

  • Willingness to learn: I look for entrepreneurs who are sales & marketing oriented. I first work with them to explore an industry or topic of their choice.
  • Accountability: Together with the entrepreneur, we then create milestones. The goal will be to validate that a customer problem exists and that we can find and convince customers to pay us to solve that problem
  • Commitment-free experimentation: As we hit those milestones, we get a sense of what it’s like to work together. There is no money, equity, or long-term commitment exchanged at this stage.
  • Tangible results: We prove that we can reach the customer and that there is demand.
  • Funding & product support: If we gather sufficient evidence, Optionality Partners will then fund the company. Together, we figure out a potential solution and build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Hands-on mentorship & coaching model

The core of Optionality’s model is hands-on mentorship and coaching. 

The entrepreneur invests their time, and I will coach them with no strings attached.

Throughout my start-up journey, I’ve made plenty of mistakes of my own. As an experienced operator at the earliest stage, I know what it takes to get to product-market-fit and solve tough issues. 

Most recently, I was the founder-CEO of a tech-enabled services business called DeepBench, which is growing under new leadership whom I continue to mentor. 

I’ve been through several incubator / accelerator programs. And I’ve received advice--some far better than others--from countless mentors and coaches.

What makes me different from most mentors and coaches is that I can also roll up my sleeves and help with the grunt work--almost like a co-founder.

Over the past 3 weeks alone,  I’ve helped entrepreneurs set up email sequences, design landing pages, do market research, scrape data, conduct Zoom user feedback sessions, set up Zapier integrations, and much more.

What this means: making entrepreneurship accessible for more people

This de-risks the start-up process for both parties. 

The entrepreneur invests their time to learn while not risking any money. Optionality also doesn’t put in money until certain assumptions have been proven. 

Optionality will invest money only after we’ve made tangible progress and have become comfortable working with one another. Thereafter, Optionality will provide product management and overall strategic support. 

As such, unlike the traditional VC model, our success rate is higher, our costs are lower, and we don’t need 100x outcomes. Case study #1 - Tool for residential real estate agents. This opens up vast new markets and new types of start-ups that we can build together.

While we keep each other accountable via milestones, the entrepreneur has the full freedom to run on their own schedule. 

They don't even need to work full-time. As long as stuff gets done and tangible progress is realized – I don’t care if they are in school, working another full-time job, or travelling the world. This further expands the pool of people I can help.

The only thing that matters is: Can they find early customers, get their attention, and convince them to buy something before it’s been built? 

No easy feat, but certainly doable. 

Scout Program (Paid Referrals) 

If this sounds interesting to you as an entrepreneur, please reach out. If not, that’s totally okay, because I’m launching a Scout Program!

My offer is simple and transparent: 

  • I’ll pay you $2,000 if you introduce me to someone and it leads to a company being formed. (You can take cash or the equivalent in equity in the new company.)
  • And I’ll pay you $500 if you introduce someone who introduces me to an individual that I form a company with (2nd degree intro). 

The 4 key character traits I look for are: energy, intelligence, integrity, and the ability to operate under ambiguity. 

The person you introduce me to doesn’t need to have a specific start-up idea in mind. They don’t even need to think of themselves as an entrepreneur. I will coach them, mentor them, and test what is possible. 

This is as early-stage as it gets. This is where I get excited. And this is where I thrive. 

If this Scout Program sounds interesting to you, please do subscribe below for monthly reminders and my latest updates.

I’d love for you to keep the offer in mind the next time you come across someone special. Just shoot me an email or ask them to check out our home page!

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