Z Fellows offers $10k to stop what you’re doing for a week and work on a side project – TechCrunch

There is massive VC overcapitalization for Series A and later companies, and perhaps also for seeds. But there is a huge gap in the market for undermining promising financials and driving them out of their current employers or schools.

Corey Levy, Launched, who has been a long-time angel investor and startup tinkerer First lesson Last year as an experiment to see what happens if all communication barriers between founders and chancellors are removed by replacing formal pitch presentation with text messaging. With a click on the website, you can connect with Cory (“I have the first text iPhone” he told me), and through that, you can join the chancellor and founding mentors such as Keith Rabois in Founders Fund and Chris Palmer with SignalFire. The service hosts regular office hours and other gate-to-address-you events.

Levi is a model believer, as she made her debut the same way. Almost a decade ago, Levi tweeted at Rabois to fund his startup – a tweet that led to the investment and Rabois continued to participate in Levi’s startup experiments.

“I think there is still this hurdle and friction that comes from talking with a venture capitalist on Sand Hill Road,” Levy said. While it is one thing to reduce the barrier to negotiating with the chancellor, it is really just to start in the first place.

So Levi’s latest use is called something Jade fellows. It is essentially a week-long relaxation program that offers $ 10,000 (optional) equity investment (at a $ 1 billion cap… so much, much cheaper money) to encourage potential founders, who are in school or work hustle. Want to find a project out of. . Levi said that “some of my friends are in school or working in companies and they have ideas and they’re working towards stuff” but they often say something like “I’m going to leave Google and Working on it. ” Levy states that Jade Fellows are designed to allow people to take “a calculated risk” to explore a project before doing it full time.

The application is Open now And closes on 15 January, with 10 fellows chosen shortly thereafter. The application has eight short questions, plus name and email. Levy will select fellows with guidance from program mentors.

Levy stated that he was inspired by early batches of Y Combinators, whose co-workers were younger and people found that the mentorship was more than the cash offered by the accelerator. The program includes patrons Naval Ravikant Angelist fame, Lucy Guo from Scale AI and Dylan Field of Figma. Levy “wants to fast track technical tinkers in the Silicon Valley world.”

Corey Levy of the first lesson and Jade Fellows. Image Credit: Corey Levy

The program is all virtual and will have a daily 10-minute standup meeting in the morning and an hour of office time in the evening and a speaker talk program.

Levy states that Z Fellows, like First Text, is a long-term experiment to see if reducing VC improves the speed of new startups. “Two years from now, hopefully some people have moved on” with their projects, Levy said. He stressed that no participant is expected to leave his company or school the next day of the program, and that the conversations that take place there may take months or years to mature. Right now, he intends to do only one batch – if it succeeds, Levy says that other batches can be started.

So far, there have been some early successes, at least with first text. George Civulka, Founder of Hebia Which I profiled last October, Used the first lesson to connect with Levi, and he coordinated with Ann Miura-Ko in an office hour event. A few months later, Miura-Ko led a $ 1.1 million pre-seed round in Hebabia, in which Levi participated as an angel. Levy also pointed to Vise AI, That we covered last year, As the second company that he Meet by text Prior to the introduction of Rabois, which invested in the company’s seed round Before Sequoia invested a combined $ 59.5 million this year in its Series A and B rounds..

This may sound simple, but sometimes the most significant change in enterprise and startups is usually the least that is the last bit of friction for the action.