A venture studio for alumni talent
Today, the majority of venture funding tends to favor innovators from a handful of institutions and cities in the world. We are missing out on exceptional, hardworking minds from diverse backgrounds and from different corners of the world. In turn, the world is missing out on the most promising ideas to tackle urgent challenges.
Here’s how we’re building a more inclusive approach to innovation:
Venturing Beyond Boundaries
As a venture studio, we have curated a deep talent network comprising hardworking, globally-minded technical innovators from over 48 different countries. We bridge campus grounds and startup ecosystems to build strong teams with global aspirations
Entrepreneurship is a privilege for those with a safety net and reliable friends and family round of funding. We fund our founders with a year of runway and deep co-founding support because we believe there’s opportunity to catch by extending the safety net and enabling more risk taking
Invest in technologists
We don’t invest in ‘technology’ – we invest in technologists. People who know how to build with tech. Data science and Artificial Intelligence are the technical building blocks of our future and we need more diverse architects at the drafting table.
Exponential impact, sustainable growth
We invest in opportunities that leverage AI and data science to address global problems and make significant impact in Climate, Education, and Healthcare. We focus our time, talent, and capital on creating revenue generating businesses that solve real problems -- not unicorn hunting
Deep technical expertise
Science and research is in our DNA -- we’ve been working on AI before it was cool and we’re interested in the the unflashy, high impact applications. For example, almost every country today faces serious challenges to state capacity. E.g., in the UK, the backlog in the NHS and courts can take over a decade to clear. AI tools can potentially improve state capacity if used well
Innovating in AI application
The current VC landscape for AI is focused on model developers (e.g., OpenAI/Anthropic) and infrastructure building (e.g., Databricks). We don't want to compete here. Instead, we want to use existing AI models and make them usable in specific contexts in the real world
What is a venture fellowship?
Founders who work and build their companies in the Equitech Venture studio will be awarded a Venture Fellowship. We support our fellows in both building their companies and developing their own leadership and entrepreneurship capabilities during a robust 1 year of programming and support
Who is eligible for a venture fellowship?
In our first year we are targeting Equitech program Alumni specifically, but could expand to include our greater partner alumni from the Rhodes Scholars and Atlantic Scholars networks
What is the timeline and time commitment for a venture fellowship?
A venture fellowship is a year-long commitment to building your venture with the support and programming of Equitech — we are asking fellows to commit the majority of their time to their venture. Fellowships will be renewed every 3 months and extension is contingent on venture progress and founder commitment.
Because of this extensive commitment, we will extend fellowship offers on a rolling basis when the founder and the idea are ready to be fully committed to.
The first fellowships will be extended in February 2024
What are the benefits of a venture fellowship with Equitech?
- We are part of the founding team -- you could get advice from many places -- but we act as direct contributors to the ventures we work with
- Build your team from a vetted, diverse talent pool - we can help you find early stage collaborators from our deep network
- Come with an idea and tested opportunity -- we invest super early, founders can come to us with nothing but a hunch of an opportunity they want to explore. Pre-pitch deck -- we work hands on to shape these hunches into hypotheses that can turn into products
- 1 year run way | Founder stipend and working capital
How would I spent my time as a venture fellow?
No day would look exactly the same and as a founder, we expect you to drive your own schedule — with support from us. Here’s a sample of what you could expect:
- Quarterly strategy retreat (IRL or virtual as needed): a time to set up the next 3 months of work and goals, opportunities, and reflect on how we can improve to make the next 3 months more efficient. This time is to go deep and set up the foundation and shared context to keep the team moving forward
- Weekly check-ins with EF team: these meetings are a way for us to know how best to help you and to ensure that you have adequate time to ask for the support you need
- Talking with potential customers : an idea isn’t a business until someone pays for it. You should be talking with potential customers regularly, that may look like:
- Customer discovery to learn who your customer is and what they want
- Finding a pilot partner to experiment with
- Building and working on a target sales list
- Testing your value prop or MVP with potential users
- Experimenting: This is the unit of work that progress is measured during your time as a venture fellow. Experiments will vary as your venture progresses, but will include:
- Testing your value proposition
- Building a prototype
- Building a landing page to gauge interest and build a wait list
- Becoming an expert in your market and problem space
- networking with experts to build your influence and support team
- Market research
- Competitor analysis
- Building a financial case for your business and the opportunity
If that sounds like a lot — it is! But you’ll have the support of EF and a playbook to guide you through.
How does the equity and money stuff work?
We strive to build equity terms that are equitable to founders and reflect the value and risk that the studio undertakes. To do this effectively, we have a progressive equity-earning structure for founders that is contingent on attaining venture milestones over the course of a year.
We want founders to have 30-50% equity at first raise.
We want founders to be able to focus on their venture and not have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet — that’s why we pay a founders stipend benchmarked to be highly competitive with PHD stipends in the country you reside.
- US : $2000 USD / month
- India: $800 USD / month