Apply your research to real world problems
Transition from academia to entrepreneurship
Leverage a diverse set of practitioners and thinkers to validate your ideas
A community of world-class founders, operators, and investors
Sector-specific frameworks and knowledge
$25,000 to cover personal runway (if needed)
Modules to move you from academia to entrepreneurship
Leverage On Deck’s sector networks across deeptech, climate tech, longevity, biotech, health, and more.
If you’re ready to build, we’re ready to back you
We believe in you and your ideas. When you join, we commit to this handshake deal: if you start a company within the next year, you'll join ODX, and we'll invest on our standard terms of $125,000 for 7%.
$125,000 for 7%Learn more about ODX →
ODF Labs is for doctoral candidates (ABD), researchers, post-docs and assistant professors who are looking to explore ideas and are in a position to work on this full-time within 12 months.
There is no upfront cash cost to participate in ODF. When you join the community, we commit to this handshake deal via a Memorandum of Understanding: if you start a company within the next year, you'll join ODX, and we'll invest on our standard terms of $125,000 for 7%. There's no penalty or cost if you decide not to. Put another way: by joining ODF, you’ve already gotten your first firm investment commitment, even if you’re pre-traction, pre-team, or pre-idea.
ODF Labs follows the ODF schedule. How much time you invest is largely up to you. For your first month, we recommend spending at least 4 hours per week attending onboarding sessions and getting to know your cohort. After that, ODF is flexible. Some weeks you may want to spend 20 hours taking calls with fellows or attending sessions. Other weeks you may choose not to do anything. Many ODF fellows are working around families and jobs, and we fully support and respect these commitments.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. There is no cutoff date, and if accepted, you will join the upcoming cohort. New ones kick off quarterly.
ODF Labs is a track within ODF. If accepted, you will be officially in ODF, but will have access to sessions, resources and a micro community specifically focused on academia and research.
Because we recruit founders from all over the world, ODF is fully virtual. However, we have thriving alumni communities in many major metros, and will host periodic in-person events for founders to meet each other in person.
Absolutely! We believe that talent is distributed evenly around the world, and a big part our mission for ODF is to elevate and support founders outside of Silicon Valley. We accept applicants from anywhere in the world.
On Deck commits to backing you earlier than anyone else. If you decide to start a company and build full-time, you'll be automatically given a seat in ODX. ODX support you with $125,000 and an intimate 12-week program, an All Access Pass to On Deck for you to hire talent, raise money and find customers, plus a dedicated Build Partner who will work with you hands-on to hit your next milestones and raise your next round of capital. You can learn more about ODX here.
Sometimes, the conclusion of your exploration in ODF is that you’re not ready to start a venture-scale business. That’s completely fine! We want all members of the community to make the decisions that are right for them. If you leave ODF without starting a company, there’s no penalty and no cost. You also get to remain a member of the community as an alum, and we can help you as you transition towards the next exciting phase of your career.
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.
ODF is for founders who are not ready to start building or don’t have conviction yet. If you need help developing an idea, finding a co-founder or timing prevents you from being ready to work on a company full time, ODF is the right program for you. Once you have an idea and are ready to build, we will fund you through ODX.
The program is a good fit for all individuals looking to translate their research into a scalable business, whether you’ve focussed on natural sciences, humanities, technology or so on. If you have a unique set of insights, network, or expertise that you’ve developed through your research and you’d like to explore building a startup, then this is the program for you.