The origin story for Tether began several years ago, as a result of the Pinetops Foundation’s work on The Great Opportunity, an exhaustive research report on the state of the Christian Church in the West. This report sparked dialogue between Josh Crossman, Founding Board Member of Pinetops (and the report’s lead author), and Dave Blanchard, Praxis Co-Founder & CEO, about how technology could be used for more effective discipleship.
The gravity of this conversation accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as churches around the world grappled with how to facilitate community during lockdown and social distancing mandates. Praxis’s Head of Venture Studio, Ben Chelf, engaged with Josh and Dave on how Praxis might help to build mobile technology for Christian community. They realized that most churches use technology for individual or administrative application, not for connecting congregants with one another in mutually discipling relationships. What emerged was a brief on the “Reformation Project” —a vision for the operating system inside church communities.
Based on the shared interest and vision between Pinetops and Praxis on this project, Pinetops granted $400,000 to Praxis to pursue the Reformation Project as a nonprofit venture, recruit a CEO, and launch an initial product. Praxis partnered with digital agency Whiteboard (Business Studio) to design the initial brand for the organization, to be named Tether (to evoke relational ties to others and God). During the branding project, one of the Whiteboard team members discerned his own interest in leading a venture like Tether and, with Whiteboard leadership’s blessing, transitioned out of his role to become the Founder and CEO of Tether.
As a part of a six-month process, Peter Court joined the Praxis team as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, where he was given a $50K budget to recruit a founding team, build a product MVP, and incorporate Tether. Through the venture design process, it was determined that Tether would be structured as a business, so Praxis returned half of the capital granted by Pinetops and converted the remaining half into stock options. After Tether’s successful launch, Peter raised a $1.2M seed round (with further investment from Pinetops) and joined the 2022 Praxis Business Accelerator with his COO, Alex Nichols.
Throughout his time as an EIR, Peter was able to engage with the Praxis team in setting vision and strategy for Tether, meeting with Partner Andy Crouch on the theological and cultural elements of the venture, and receiving coaching from Dave Blanchard and Ben Chelf on building the business. Ben remains on the board of Tether and continues to mentor Peter.