A new approach to building companies
The program is one year long and consists of 24 founders who enter the program as teams of two through an application process. The goal is to end with 3 extremely strong 8-person companies through the following process.
Each team of 2 works to prove out their concept as compelling, viable, and large. Should have a compelling prototype, user feedback, and tight deck by end of the two months.
The group votes, along with a panel of early-stage VCs, and the top 6 concepts are selected to continue. The founders whose ideas are not selected are recruited to join a winning team. We keep the teams equally sized so now there are 6 teams of 4. The teams continue to build, pivot if necessary, and prove a big opportunity.
Another round of voting by the founders, partners, and VC’s. 6 teams become 3 teams. Teams go from 4 people to 8.
Product launch. Metrics. Traction. Necessary pivots based on any new learnings.
Fundraise based on product, team, market, and traction. The panel of VCs have already voted positively for the surviving concepts, so they are likely candidates to lead the round.
Close $2m. ($10k per person per month for 18 months plus cushion).
RESULTING TEAM DYNAMIC
The two founders who entered the program as teammates would be the primary two executives (CEO/CTO/COO/CDO).
The other 6 teammates would all retain cofounder status, with appropriate VP level titles.
EQUITY AND FINANCES
Cap table after 12 months:
Founders: 10% each (80% total). 4 year vesting starting at program end with a six month cliff.
Program Partners: 10%
Six partners: $100k each ($600k)
Twenty Four Founders: $60k each ($1.44m)
Three Support Staff: $50k each ($150k)
SG&A: $250k (web services and expense of the companies).
WHY THIS MAKES SENSE FOR STAKEHOLDERS
You’re always working on a winning idea.
You’re surrounded by hustlers.
You build and test assumptions quickly.
Your team can build.
Although there is only one CEO, everyone on the team gets equal equity. This prevents fighting for an idea simply because you have a greater stake in it.
If your idea is not selected, you have a few chances to get on a team with an idea that excites you.
You don’t have to deal with hiring for the first 12-24 months of your start up.
Each of the three start ups is comprised of great team members.
The concept that emerges is significantly de-risked after having survived for 12 months.
All employees are founders so there is less team risk.
The company is pre-qualified as investable based on the program.
Program Partners (and their LPs):
10 teams at $115k per team fo 8% equity stake (after convertible notes convert). Program is for three months, 2 programs a year.
Cost of investment: $2.3m per year
Equity received: 8% in 20 companies.
Value of a company after 3 month program: $4m
Total Value: $6.4m value (8% of 20 x $4m)
The New Model:
Cost of investment:$2.5m
Equity received: 10% in 3 companies
Value of company after 12 months: $20m
Total Value: $6m (10% of 3 x $20m)
The longer, more intense program would have to make companies 7 times more likely to hit a homerun to make sense. (3 companies a year versus 20 with the traditional model).
Given that the program results in a strong 8 person team and a concept with 12 months of rigorous proving, support, and testing, I think the likelihood of a company’s success is 10x the average, at least.