On Deck is an evolving community of world class entrepreneurs who are openly—or secretly—about to start their next thing. Currently, the community includes successful repeat founders, EIRs at top-tier VC firms, and great designers and engineers at companies like Facebook, Dropbox, Airbnb, and more.
On Deck emerged out of a need for prospective founders to have a safe space to talk about their ideas and desire to start a company (or join another company), freely and confidentially. So much goes into successfully launching a company, and we wanted to create a thoughtfully curated community that truly supports the growth of entrepreneurs and their startups.
Since the first dinner in San Francisco in early 2016, we’ve expanded to 24 cities around the world, hosted over 3,000 people, and have seen 40+ companies founded and $80M+ raised by people who met at On Deck events.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions, hopefully we’ve answered them below. If not, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’ll get back to you right away.
What do you do?
On Deck is a global, invite-only community aimed at equipping our members with the network, tools and resources to unlock their full potential and thrive in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
Over the years, we have become masters of engineered serendipity. We have continued to fine tune our events and community culture to create an environment that's conducive to deep bonding, brainstorming, and collaboration.
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:
- First hires
- 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
Who should join?
You should join the On Deck community:
1 - if you’re considering founding a company in the next 6 months, or if you’ve recently started on this path but you're still early on
2 - if you’d like to apply your unique talents to joining a high caliber startup
3 - if you have deep subject matter expertise and a track record of success, where you'd like to mentor or advise early stage entrepreneurs
What if I want to join a company instead of start one?
This is the perfect place to meet people looking to hire, both for small and big companies.
We also recently built Via, a referral-based hiring platform where top talent can request introductions to companies they're interested in.
Where are your events located?
In-person events are currently being hosted across the United States: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Boulder. We’ve also gone international with active communities in London, New Delhi, and Tel Aviv. We’re intentionally keeping each community small to create tight-knit groups of founders and ensure confidentiality.
What if my company finds out?
First, your name will be completely confidential and there will be a strict off the record policy. And don’t worry: A few great founders/investors will be attending dinners as "advisors," so if you get caught, you can just say you’re there to "advise.” We'll cover for you.
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:
- Raw entrepreneurial potential and network
- Previously founded or was early generalist employee of a notably successful company, and is now moving on to a 2nd/3rd/etc venture.
- Technical excellence
- Has advanced degree and/or recognized as a research leader within applicable technology fields (e.g. machine learning, STEM).
- Product leadership
- Held senior roles at notable companies, and can point to examples of products they’ve built/scaled to hundreds of thousands of people.
- Industry experience
- Worked in X industry for Y years, and has developed + can speak to unique insights or unfair advantage they possess vs. all others.
- Exceptional promise
- None of the above, but shows exceptional promise and has referral/reference from a trusted source.
What is the On Deck Fellowship?
The On Deck Fellowship is an invite-only 8-week program, designed to bring the very best talent from across the On Deck network together to connect over a series of dinners, co-working days, 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 aim to have several cohorts per year. For more information, see our announcement post
What stage are members typically at?
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.
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.
Can I host On Deck in my city?
Drop us a line via email@example.com
Previous Event Partners
On Deck functions on the generosity of our event partners, who volunteer their office space, help cover costs such as food and drinks, and refer us top talent. Interested in being an event partner? Drop us a line via firstname.lastname@example.org!