Day One Ventures, a venture capital firm in 2018 with the goal of combining venture capital with marketing and communications support, has launched a program that this year is clearly aimed at those affected by the technology cuts.
The program, called “Unfunded,” will write $100,000 checks to 20 startup teams by the end of the year. The top businesses in this group will receive further capital following a commitment from Day One Ventures to advance their pre-seed round with a $1 million check. In total, the company will allocate at least $5 million of its $52.5 million fund to founders exiting troubled startups.
Founder and GP Masha Butcher, who left his former life in Russia as a politician and TV reporter to become a venture capitalist, launched the program in the wake of layoffs at Stripe and Twitter over the past week. Her condition? At least 0.1% to 1% of the thousands of employees affected by tech layoffs this year could become incredible founders.
This program is basically an official double click on the company’s obsession with mafia founders, that is, people who left high-profile gigs in even higher-ranking companies to start their own business. However, an added layer of complexity is the recession that has somewhat defined the technology of 2022. For example, if I was laid off, I don’t know if my first thought would be to bet on myself and start a risky business that is likely to fail. But, according to Bucher, this mindset is exactly what’s driving me (and probably many tech workers out) out of the entrepreneurial world.
“I think you’re not going to be a great founder if you’re afraid of risk,” Bucher said. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to start a company at a time when so much has changed in the last three years,” he added, adding that it certainly makes sense if people want to find work or work with founders. instead of becoming one. Other examples of programs designed to activate the next generation of entrepreneurs include Z Fellows and the former Cleo Capital Fellowships for laid-off workers.
He made sure that the program was “not a charity” and that the folks at Stripe and Twitter wouldn’t get a kick out of the Day One Ventures pitch (even though they were the inspiration behind the program).
Aspiring founders don’t need an established company or even a fully fleshed-out idea to apply to the program. The form asks for the founders’ background, best ideas, metrics and why behind their journey into entrepreneurship. To qualify for an accelerator, at least one co-founder must have been recently fired, they must be working full-time at the startup, and they must be able to show three credentials.
The application deadline is November 25, 2022, and final decisions will be made by December 20, 2022.
“Compared to all the other VCs who are taking a break until next year, we’ll be working until December 31 – which is absolutely fine,” Bucher said. “I just feel like times like this are a great opportunity for us to work a little harder, go the extra mile, take some time off, and hopefully bring back some companies that are going to be the size of Coinbase, Airbnb, and Stripe”.