On Deck founder fellowship (ODF)

Start a company, together. In 10 weeks.

The On Deck Founder Fellowship (ODF) is a ten-week remote program that brings together an incredible group of founders who are in the early stages of building their next startup. We combine the power of community, world-class speakers, and customized support to help you build the next unicorn.

Featured Program: On deck founders (ODF)

Over 330 companies founded through ODF

On Deck fellows founded 330+ companies and raised over $250m from incredible investors.
1400+ fellows
Over 1,400 ODF fellows building
the next great wave of companies
330+ companies
More than 330 companies founded by fellows in the past 18 months
$250m raised
Nearly $250M raised in pre-seed & seed funding during ODF from top investors

Go from idea to company

Our 10-week program provides community, education and support to help you get your company off the ground.

Explore ideas, problems and markets

It’s easy to get stuck in the idea maze, and there’s no perfect formula for validating the next billion dollar market. That’s why building alongside other ambitious and experienced founders at early stages to share feedback, insights, and learnings is key to finding the right path forward. 

Build lifelong connections with fellow founders    

With access to hundreds of other talented founders, you’ll find diverse perspectives and broad reach, as well as a handful of deep relationships including partners, advisors, cofounders, and friends.     

Get initial traction and accelerate your progress

Growing a company is hard work, and best done with curated support. Tap into the On Deck community for knowledge, to hire your initial team, get early customers or raise your first round.

Join a community of exceptional individuals

Community is the core of the On Deck Founder Fellowship. Here are just a few of the phenomenal community members from our previous cohorts.
Shiva Rajaraman
Former CTO at WeWork; VP Product Spotify; Dir. PM at Google
Aina Abiodun
Previously CEO 8fit & Storycode
Ashley Tolbert
Senior Security Engineer, Netflix. Formerly NASA.
Celine Halioua
CEO, Loyal. CoS, Longevity Fund.
Anne-Laure Le Cunff
Founder, Ness Labs. Ex Googler
Sean Linehan
Co-founder, Placement.com. Formerly VP of Product, Flexport
Yannick Kpodar
Global Director of Product Marketing, PayFit. Ex-LinkedIn & Dell
Elizabeth Slavitt
Founder, Speakeasy. Formerly CMO, Khan Academy
Yele Bademosi
Founder, Bundle Africa. Formerly Director of Binance Labs
Anh-Tho Chuong
Previously VP Growth, Qonto. Ex. Weebly, Mailjet, McKinsey
Ming Lu
Former Head of Product, Lattice. Early engineer, Intercom.
Réda Berrehili
Previously CTO, Onefinestay. Founder, Squarebreak (acq. by Accor hotels)
View More
Jörg Doku
Previously Google Brain, Facebook AI
Carley Lake
Previously Global Brand Marketing Director, Uber
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
Roland Grenke
Previously Founder, Dubsmash
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

Apply for the On Deck Founder Fellowship

Applications are open for ODF9, which kicks off in April. Price is $2,590 (or four installments of $647).

Testimonials

Our Fellows are the heartbeat of our community. Here's what they have to say.

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Sneh Ganjoo

Midway through ODF & every time I attend a session or interact with the community I have the same excitement as Day 0. I wish all founder communities were like this.

I have never seen a community that translates the true essence of business & ideas beyond borders before @beondeck

Van Nguyen

Life after @beondeck is crazy good! The network is so powerful. @Auroreserete’s ODF cohort hasn’t even started yet and despite that she has helped me connect with 4 potential customers in completely new/different markets in record time. Thank you!

Kai Faust

My experience with On Deck in 2020:

- Several deep friendships and that I expect to last a lifetime.

- Warm intros to customers, talent and advisors.

- Access to capital (Raised $100K+ during ODF6)

- $20K+ in perks (AWS, DocSend, and more)

I kinda feel like crying. So grateful.

Aashni Shah

I'm in @beondeck #ODF4 for the last few weeks and it's easily the best decision I've ever made. It's a perfect combination of what I love about school - fun, engaging, incredible community and lots of valuable knowledge without the tests.

Plus the community is so so helpful!

Nick Singh

On Deck helped me realize that writing was a viable career. As a Software Engineer in SV, thought founding a tech startup was the only path. Then ODF1 happened.

12 months later, and I got a book on the way & a newsletter with 44k subscribers. Big fans of @david__booth & team!

Meeta Sharma

Choosing to be a part of #ODW1 was easily the best decision of this year. I found a group of people who are invested in each other's growth and the growth of the creator ecosystem at large. Cannot recommend it enough.

Vensy Krishna

If you're still wondering what is, yes, you should care about what they're doing. It's one of the biggest educational revolutions in our times and if you're passionate about learning and future of work, take a look at what they're doing

Marcus Woxneryd

I’ve heard that life after @beondeck is crazy good - powerful community. But no one told me about before. #ODNC1 Slack is absolutely buzzing! Reaping the benefits in week -1. 🤯

Chris Horne

Just over halfway through my @beondeck fellowship experience and might as well say: joining is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Everyone is AMAZING, friendly, and EXTREMELY helpful. The talks are tactical and directly applicable. Nothing but ❤️

Arwina Mogul

I have this theory that if I joined @beondeck sooner, I would've avoided many early-stage founder mistakes. I implore any early-stage founder to check out the fellowship. It will extend your financial, emotional, and mental runway.

Toby Allen

Wow #ODNC1 👉 best decision of 2021!

@beondeck So many epic contacts, knowledge and connections! The ROI of the intro day alone is worth it all!

The next few weeks are going to be challenging, but looking forward to stepping up my game and making something epic! 🙌

Mckay Wrigley

Last “official” @beondeck day tomorrow - I highly recommend applying for a cohort.

There are programs for anyone from founders to investors to writers to podcasters and more.

On Deck puts out great programs, you’ll connect with amazing people, and community workshops are A+.

Derek Osgood

Ok so I promised I’d talk about On Deck (ODF6) changed my life. That’s it, that’s the tweet.

Actually, no it’s not. I’m a tweetstorm guy now (new year new me). So let’s talk ODF👇

Aditi Parekh

Searching the directory for any startup-related questions before searching on Google or Twitter 🤟

Program Glimpse

Learn

World Class Speakers

Hear from sought after investors, founders, and operators share their outlooks, best practices, and stories from the trenches.

Masterminds

Small group sessions held weekly throughout the 10 weeks and beyond. Leveraging the experience of your fellow peers and fostering deep connections.
Connect

Community Slack & Directory

This is not your typical Slack. The Community Slack represents the vibrant community of fellows collaborating and helping each other every day. Use the On Deck Directory to find experts, mentors, cofounders.  Discover relevant sessions, valuable perks and more 

Venture Meals

On Deck partners with VC firms to host intimate virtual meals throughout the fellowship creating opportunities for learning and relationship building outside of a “pitching” context.
Build

Action Sessions

Engage in Build Weekends, pitch and product feedback sessions to generate rapid fire feedback allowing you to iterate faster.
And more...

Much, much more

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We've got a lot in store for you, and can't wait to welcome ambitious founders into our community.

The On Deck Method

We're building a modern educational institution that redefines how community and learning come together. Being part of any On Deck program means you’ll have access to a community of world-class professionals. With every new program we launch and cohort we start, your network gets stronger.

Here are the cornerstones of the On Deck experience:

Deep Friendships

Our 8- to 10-week-long virtual fellowships provide members with community, education, and support. This is a place for cohort-style learning, but also deep personal connections.

Unparalleled Knowledge

There are limitless opportunities for learning and sharing here. You’ll get access to expert speakers, office hours, build weekends, and our session library full of curated content. Dig in!

Community Diversity

We’re proud to have a community diverse in culture, thought, and life experiences. This enables revolutionary ideas, inclusive solutions, and boundless growth opportunities.

Scaled With Software

We’re building in-house tools to improve how we share community knowledge, aligned opportunities, and helpful connections.

Engineered Serendipity

When everyone is going through a shared experience and seeking similar goals, incredible things happen.

Spirit of Service

One of the things we love most about our community is how willing and excited members are to support one another. This spirit is the strong heartbeat of the On Deck community.
Alumni Case Study

Elizabeth Slavitt

Founder, Speakeasy | Former CMO at Khan Academy
"It’s a great place to feel like you’re not alone on what can be the very lonely journey of starting a company."
READ CASE STUDY

Apply for the On Deck Founder Fellowship

Applications are open for ODF9, which kicks off in April. Price is $2,590 (or four installments of $647).

FAQ

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.

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 $2,590 if paid upfront, or $647 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

4) $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 thanks to the generosity of alumni and partners.

There are no fees to apply so please submit an application to be considered for the fellowship — we only ask about financial assistance requirements after fellows have been accepted in order to avoid discrimination during the evaluation process.

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 Founder Fellowship is geared towards those looking to start companies. Check out our First 50 Fellowship, which is specifically designed for people who want to join early-stage startups.

Is this a digital program?

Since cohort 3, the On Deck Fellowship has gone entirely digital, with stronger engagement and NPS than ever before. You can be based anywhere and participate – In our last cohort we had fellows join from 18 different countries.

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!

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 1200+ 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.

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 — or, check out some of our other fellowship programs.

What are the Guiding Values of On Deck?

You can view our values here, but to summarize: Service, Sacredness, Respect, and Gratitude.

Did we miss your question? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap.
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