Day One Ventures, a venture firm launched in 2018 with the intention of combining venture capital acumen with marketing and communications support, has launched a program aimed specifically at those affected by this year’s tech layoffs.
The program, called “Funded Not Fired,” will write $100,000 checks to 20 startup teams by the end of the year. The top ventures from the cohort will then receive follow-on capital from Day One Ventures’ commitment to lead their seed round with a $1 million check. Overall, the firm allocates at least $5 million of its $52.5 million fund to support founders emerging from turbulent startups.
Founder and general practitioner Maša Bucher, who left her former life in Russia as a politician and TV reporter to become a venture capitalist, spun off the program in the wake of layoffs at Stripe and Twitter over the past week. Her bet? At least 0.1% to 1% of the thousands of workers hit by tech layoffs this year could become incredible founders.
The program is essentially a formalized double-click on the business obsession of mob founders, known as people who have left high-profile gigs at even higher-profile companies to start their own businesses. Another layer of complexity, however, is the downturn that somewhat defined 2022 in technology. For example, if I were fired from my job, I don’t know if my first thought would be to bet on myself and start a risky business most likely to fail. But according to Bucher, this mindset is exactly what would have put me (and probably a lot of laid-off tech workers) out of business anyway.
“I think if you’re afraid of risk, you’re just not going to be a great founder,” Bucher said. “Don’t get me wrong, starting a company at this time when so many changes have happened in the last three years” is difficult, she added, adding that it definitely makes sense if people want to find work or work with founders. instead of becoming one. Other examples of programs that have sprung up to help activate the next generation of entrepreneurs include Z Fellows and the former Cleo Capital scholarship for laid-off workers.
She made sure to emphasize that the program was “not a charity” and that people from Stripe and Twitter wouldn’t get preferential treatment in the Day One Ventures pitch (even though they were the inspiration for the program).
Aspiring founders don’t need a registered company or even a fully fleshed out startup idea to apply to the program. The form asks about the founders’ background, best ideas, metrics and why behind their journey to entrepreneurship. To qualify for the accelerator, at least one co-founder must be recently fired, be fully committed to the startup, and be able to show three references.
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 the next year off, we’ll be working until December 31st — which is perfectly fine,” Bucher said. “I feel like times like this are the perfect opportunity for us to do a little bit more, to go the extra mile, not take time off and just hopefully support some of the Coinbase, Airbnb-sized companies in the future. and Stripe.”