Welcome to On Deck

Where top tech talent goes to explore what's next.

Learn more

The numbers speak for themselves...

15 Months

The first ODF cohort kicked off in June, 2019

250+ Companies

Over 250 companies founded by Fellows in the first three  cohorts

$150M Raised

Nearly $150M raised in Pre-Seed/Seed funding during ODF

From investors including...

On Deck Fellowship

10 weeks. 200 Founders. Explore and Build Together.

The On Deck Fellowship (ODF) is a 10-week virtual program where you'll have access to a network of 200+ talented founders from all over the world who are all in the early stages of working on their next company. We recently increased our support to the EMEA region too.

ODF is the perfect place to explore one or multiple ideas, meet a co-founder, and build on an early concept.

COMMUNITY

Building a company is hard, especially when you're alone or in a small team. ODF gathers the most talented individuals who all share the spirit of community and support each other. We make this happen through social events, accountability groups, community-led workshops and build sessions.

EDUCATION

From exploring the idea maze to setting up your go-to-market strategy, we invite world-class founders and operators to share their expertise on every possible startup topic every week during founder sessions and office hours. All sessions are recorded and available on our in-house education platform.

SUPPORT

We partner with the best service providers and investors, to help you navigate the first stages of building a company: legal, banking,  cloud services, accounting, and others. Get free access to world-class experts, right from our internal Slack.

Alumni spotlight

A few of the talented people who have joined us on their journey

Shiva Rajaraman

Former CTO at WeWork; VP Product Spotify; Dir. PM at Google

Celine Halioua

CEO, Celevity. CoS, Longevity Fund.

Sean Linehan

Co-founder, Placement.com. Formerly VP of Product, Flexport

Elizabeth Slavitt

Founder, Speakeasy. Formerly CMO, Khan Academy

Yele Bademosi

Founder, Bundle Africa. Formerly Director of Binance Labs

Ming Lu

Former Head of Product, Lattice. Early engineer, Intercom.

Ashley Tolbert

Senior Security Engineer, Netflix. Formerly NASA.

Jörg Doku

Previously Google Brain, Facebook AI
See More +

Maksim Stepanenko

Co-founder, Primer, Formerly Senior Software Engineer, Coinbase

Ann Ferracane

Formerly Director, Growth East Coast at Lyft

Saul Diez-Guerra

Former CTO at Thinkful, Senior Engineer at Ampush

George Xing

Prev. Director & Head of Data Science & Analytics at Lyft

Ben Lee

Head of Product Design, Postmates

Bec Hu

Sales, Strategy, and Ops at LinkedIn, Stripe, Uber, SeatGeek

Ali Taylor

Director of Strategy, Eventbrite

David Byttow

Founder, Secret; Director of Eng, Snap; Director of Infrastructure, Square

Lucy Mort

Former Director of Design, Hinge

Harpaul Sambhi

Co-founder, Careerify (acq. LinkedIn)

Clara Tsao

President, White House Innovation Fellows Foundation

Madelin Woods

Early engineer at Square. PM/Design/Eng at Facebook, IDEO, Intercom

Boris de Souza

1st Engineer, Chime. Head of Eng, Braintree Treasury. Sr Eng Manager, Slack.

Sunil Rajaraman

Formerly Co-Founder, Scripted. CMO, Metromile

Brandon Hill

Co-founder, Vori & Greo (YCS17). Stanford Student Body VP

Eric Friedman

COO at Company, formerly Global Senior Director, Foursquare

Rebecca Grubman

Founding Team, Wonderschool

Gina Gotthilf

Former VP Marketing, Duolingo. VP Growth, Quartz

Peter Light

Energy Lead, GoogleX. Director, Bloom Energy

Vineet Thanedar

Formerly Director of Engineering, Crunchbase

Luke Whiting

Formerly COO, Clearbit

Nicole Obst

Formerly Head of Growth, Loom. Head of Web Growth, Dropbox.

Cheryl Sew Hoy

Formerly CMO, Hack Reactor. Co-founder, Reclip.It (acq Walmart Labs)

Grant Marvin

Lead Founding Engineer, Superhuman. EIR, On Deck

Marcel Kornacker

Formerly Google F1 Query Engine Tech Lead; Cloudera architect and tech lead

Avlok Kohi

CEO, AngelList Ventures

Andreas Klinger

Formerly CTO, Product Hunt. Head of Remote, AngelList

Lexi Lewtan

Formerly Head of Operations, AngelList.

Who is it for?

Fellows typically fall into two broad categories, which we’ve taken to calling “Explorers” and “Builders.”

Explore

  • You have the skills and plan to start a company, but aren’t exactly sure yet what you want to build, or who to build it with.
  • Deep dive with experts in industries such as fintech, biotech, consumer, and participate in "request for startup" sessions with leading investors.
  • Tactical programming designed to support co-founder dating and idea validation.

Build

  • You know what you're building, but are early in the journey, maybe you're filling out your founding team.
  • Tap the community to accelerate progress: user interviews, customer introduction, or access the collective knowledge base
  • Focus on tactical knowledge and skills – covering topics from SEO to forecasting, recruiting to fundraising.

Apply to join an upcoming ODF cohort

ODF7 (December) or ODF8 (January). Select your preference in the application.

Cohort Price: $1,990
Scholarships Available

APPLY HERE
New Program!

The On Deck Angel Fellowship

The On Deck Angel Fellowship (ODA) is an 8-week program inspired by the success of the On Deck Founder Fellowship.

ODA is designed to accelerate groups of experienced operators and founders along the path to becoming a successful angel investor, helping build co-investor networks, hone skills, and broaden their knowledge of trends and markets.

OD Angels will get exclusive deal-flow from the On Deck Fellowship, with the opportunity to participate in community events, attend pitch days, and more.

The next On Deck Angel Academy cohort kicks off in early January 2021.

Apply to join ODA

Austen Allred

CEO, Lambda School

Morgan Beller

Co-creator, Facebook Libra

Nick Caldwell

VP Engineering, Twitter

Aicha Evans

Founder/CEO, Zoox

What’s In Store

People

Browse/filter all fellows and alumni (750+); setup 1:1s

Content

Access our content library of past recorded sessions.

Projects + Ideas

Socialize ideas, and see what other fellows are exploring or working on

Support

Tap the collective group’s expertise to help with blockers, share resources, DM fellows.

Learn

Expert and Fellow-led programming, tactical sessions, and knowledge sharing.

Collaborate

Hackathons, product feedback, ideation sessions, connect in group or 1:1 settings, and more.

Testimonials

What people are saying...

Apply to join an upcoming ODF cohort

ODF7 (December) or ODF8 (January). Select your preference in the application.

Cohort Price: $1,990
Scholarships Available

APPLY HERE

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the goal of On Deck?

Starting a company is hard. And worse, the lack of adequate resources and infrastructure available at this formative stage makes it even harder. The goal of On Deck is to help amazing people that are "on deck" for their next thing find the following:

  • Co-founders
  • First hires
  • Investors
  • Startup tools and resources
  • Confidentially brainstorm and bounce ideas off of each other
  • Exclusive advice from top-tier investors and entrepreneurs
  • Referrals to job opportunities at early stage breakout startups
What is the On Deck Fellowship?

The On Deck Fellowship is an invite-only 10-week program, designed to bring the very best talent from across the On Deck network together to connect over a series of digital gatherings, expert workshops, 1:1 introductions, and more.

The goal of the Fellowship is ultimately to help more people build better companies by forming stronger, better aligned founding teams; fast-tracking early hires; and helping founders construct a community around themselves at the very earliest stages. We have several cohorts per year. For more information, see our ODF5 announcement post

It can be helpful to think of ODF less as a “10-week finite program” and more as joining a lifetime community. The 10 week program is your onboarding, which we do in cohorts to aid the smooth transition.

What does it cost? What do I get as a member?

Joining the ODF community costs $1,990 if paid upfront, or $500 per month over 4 months.

We believe great founders don’t need funding to get started building a company. Indeed, many in our community come from high paying senior engineering and product roles, and/or have had past success as founders — people for whom personal runway is no problem — but giving away equity too early doesn’t make sense.

The fee covers:

1) 10-weeks with hundreds of hours of live programming and curriculum.

2) Lifetime access to the online community Slack and access to the On Deck Directory. Nearly 40% of ODF1-3 alumni have been active daily on Slack during ODF4.

3) Access to the content library and archive

5) $50k+ worth of value from our partners (i.e. $10k AWS credits, $20k Stripe credits, and discounts with 40+ products/services you’ll actually want to use) 

Do you have scholarships or financing options available?

Yes!
Our goal is to make the Fellowship accessible to the absolute best talent, no matter what their situation.

While many eligible applicants do have the means to support themselves, many others don’t. We’re excited to be able to offer scholarships to join the Fellowship, and have made a budget available to people who have been adversely affected by COVID layoffs and startup shutdowns. 

We also have a number of fully sponsored places available thanks to the generosity of alumni and partners, and are working on other options to provide further assistance to those without means to support themselves.

There are no fees to apply so please submit an application to be considered for the fellowship — you’ll have the option to request financial assistance if you receive an offer to join ODF5 or 6.

We’ll be announcing a new “Convertible ISA” option shortly (sneak peek here)

But what if I need longer than 10 weeks?

You're in luck! It can be helpful to think of ODF less as a “10-week finite program” and more as joining a lifetime community. The 10 week program is your onboarding, which we do in cohorts to aid the smooth transition.

After the 10 weeks, there's plenty to participate in – so don't stress about cramming everything in all at once. The community will still be there for you 3, 6 or 12+ months down the road, with your continued access to many of the top resources.

As new cohorts join, you'll get to meet everyone who's in it, and be able to engage directly.

What kind of value should I expect to get out of ODF?

Some people compare the impact to doing an MBA at a top college, which can cost $100-200k. Others compare it to accelerators such as YC, which “cost” a lot more in equity or opportunity cost terms.

We routinely see fellows who have the trajectory of their careers change, carve months off their “ideation” processes, and raise more capital at better valuations through participating in the fellowship.

You’re welcome to ask them! Visit the On Deck Wall of Love (with a few specific examples here and here)

What if I want to join a company instead of start one?

The Fellowship is geared towards those looking to start companies. Outside of that, we built Via, a referral-based hiring platform where top talent can request introductions to companies they're interested in.

Where are your events located?

Since cohort 3 the On Deck Fellowship has gone entirely digital, with stronger engagement and NPS than ever before. Last cohort we had Fellows participate from 18 different countries. Read more in our ODF4 announcement post.

Will anyone else know that I’ve joined?

Participation is held in strict confidence. Even if you’re happy to share, you are requested to respect the privacy of other members who aren’t ready to make their plans public.

How do you assess candidates?

We’ve developed a framework for assessing candidates on at least one of the following:

1) Experienced operator
Previously founded or was an early employee of a notably successful company, and is now moving on to a 2nd/3rd/etc venture.

2) Technical excellence
Has deep technical experience (2–3 years+ as an engineer with reputable technology companies), and/or has been recognized as a research leader within applicable technology fields (e.g. machine learning, STEM).

3) Product leadership
Has held senior roles at notable companies, and can point to examples of products they’ve built/scaled to hundreds of thousands of people.

4) Industry insight
Worked in X industry for Y years, and has in doing so developed some unique insights or unfair advantages they possess vs. all others.

5) Wildcard / raw entrepreneurial potential
None of the above, but stands out from the crowd based on initiative taken, side-projects, community contributions, and more.

Finally, perhaps the most important question of the interview: does this Fellow come with a spirit of service, and what will they contribute to the community?

Our screening criteria starts with: “do we think this person is fully committed to starting a company in the next 3 months.

What stage are Fellows typically at?

We heavily prioritize those that are early along in the process. Some may have a few ideas floating around, others may be looking for co-founders, and most haven’t started fundraising.

We feel the formative stages of a company are the most critical, and that they set the foundation and trajectory for the journey ahead. We want to ensure founders at this early stage have the adequate resources and infrastructure they need to succeed.

Historically, roughly 40% came into the fellowship with a specific idea but were open to changing, 35% were openly exploring or looking to latch onto others' ideas, and 25% had some initial MVP/prototype or were getting ready to fundraise.

How many people will be part of the Fellowship group?

Roughly 200 world-class people from all over the world.

In addition to the upcoming cohort, we have an Alumni community of 700+ founders (and growing) that we love to keep engaged with the community and to have opportunities to interact with the new cohort.

Unlike accelerators where a bigger batch size often correlates to a poorer experience, the fellowship behaves in quite the opposite: since most fellows join while still in the pre-team phase, there's more liquidity in the talent pool to find potential collaborators, and more collective knowledge and expertise to tap for specialized breakouts or advice.

Do I have to be in San Francisco to join?

We're entirely digital so you can be based anywhere and participate.

We believe that it has never been more important to be deeply connected in San Francisco, but never less important to actually build your company here. During the program you'll be deeply immersed in SF tech even if you're halfway around the world!

I’m not looking to start a company in the next 6 months, should I still join?

Thanks for being upfront. The community works best when members are all at similar stages of planning to found a company or transition into something new in the immediate future. If you think you’ll be a bit longer, come back once you feel the timing is right.

What are the demographics of each cohort?

We published a summary of ODF4 cohort demographics here.

What are the Guiding Values of On Deck?

On Deck lives by four core guiding values, crucial to the culture we strive to foster in the community:

  • Service: On Deck is bigger than any one person. This community thrives because it is driven by a spirit of service to others. Be generous with your time, knowledge, and support. Karma has a way of finding its way back.
  • Sacredness: By default, everything is off the record. Many in this community are searching for something deeper in their lives or making big transitions, and others may not yet have publicly shared this with friends, family, or employers. Please honor that, and avoid sharing anything you learn about each other without explicit permission.
  • Respect: Have a spirit of curiosity and gratitude. We’re bringing together 150 fascinating people, most of whom likely have never met each other…how amazing is that? Get to know each other, and make the cohort what you want it to be for yourself
  • Gratitude: If accepted to the Fellowship, you will become part of the On Deck family. You’re all embarking on what will surely be a rollercoaster of a journey – but you’re in this shared experience together. With that comes a sense of responsibility: be inclusive, stick together, and respect one another.
Did we miss your question? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap.