Category

Announcing: the Access Fund — a $1M+ scholarship pool for underestimated talent, powered by the On Deck community.

Learn the playbook and pragmatic tactics for early-stage fundraising from Mike Wilner, a startup founder, advisor, and author of Oversubscribed, a book on seed fundraising.

23
 min read
Last Updated: 
July 5,2021
Article Category

A Tactical Guide to Seed Fundraising

Learn the playbook and pragmatic tactics for early-stage fundraising from Mike Wilner, a startup founder, advisor, and author of Oversubscribed, a book on seed fundraising.

23
 min read
Last Updated: 
July 5,2021
Sachin Maini
Editorial and Content Lead
CONTENT TABLE
Heading 1
Heading 2
Heading 3
Heading 4
Heading 5

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

dsfsdfdsf

Paragraph text goes here

Block Quote looks like this
  1. List 1
  2. List 2
  3. List 3

Growing the pie

Technology is a powerful force for good. But while its use has become ubiquitous, the ability to participate in its development and resulting wealth creation is far from widespread. 

Ask yourself: how does an idea go from a napkin to a conversation with potential users, then to code, and finally become a product? How about scaling as a business? If you’d even encountered these questions, let alone know how to answer them — you’re substantially ahead of the majority of the world’s population.

The tech industry has an “access” problem, and it’s never been more obvious than in 2020. 

Unlocking talent 

We think a lot about how to “unlock” talent at On Deck. 

As the world shelters in place, increasingly more polarized over economic, political and ideological differences, we’ve put out a “call to arms” for people who want to help build the future.

On Deck is on a mission to multiply the number of founders building world changing startups, and create the world’s best support ecosystem around them.


But for every person founding or working on an impactful company or cause today, there are hundreds who should be but can't.

18,000 people have applied to On Deck programs over the past few years. Many could be great founders or operators, but don't have the personal runway to leave their job and go full time exploring “what’s next”, and developing the network and skills to be impactful in this industry. Some have to fundraise prematurely. Others hack "on the side" for years, or never start at all.

Paying it forward

Over the past 12 months, we’ve awarded scholarships worth over $300,000 to around 250 people in need of financial aid. Recipients come from all walks of life. A majority came from under-represented groups in tech. 

Recently, a number of those individuals — having gone on to find success in their own subsequent journeys — have come back to us enquiring how they can contribute to support those coming behind them, to pay it forward to help those joining On Deck in the future.

Today, we’re excited to announce a program designed to formalize this powerful “receive then give back” dynamic.

The Access Fund — a “donor advised” scholarship fund for the next generation of underestimated, and underserved talent. 

We are thrilled to announce: The On Deck Access Fund, a donor advised scholarship fund (“DAF”) dedicated to supporting people who have the talent and drive to build great startups and progress their careers in technology, but may be from underserved communities (all backgrounds welcome), and haven't had access, incentives or resources to do so.

How it works:

  1. Apply, and be accepted to participate in an On Deck program
  2. Once you’ve been accepted, apply for a grant from the Access Fund, describing your situation and needs. The fund can cover On Deck tuition and itemized essential costs that may be limiting your ability to participate, such as a laptop or internet connection.
  3. Once you’re “off deck” again — either found a job or started a company, we'd love for you to contribute back to the fund for future fellows. Make a tax one-off donation, or set up a recurring monthly/annual contribution by donating stock or cash via Overflow.co.
  4. You’re now a contributing sponsor for life! You’ll receive regular updates on fund activity, and have the opportunity to mentor and connect with future grant recipients.

This “pay-it-forward” mentality personifies the spirit and values of the On Deck community. 

As it matures, this flywheel of receiving a grant → creating value → paying it forward will create a self-sustaining giving-machine, that we hope can give everyone the opportunity to start a company, and systematically reshape the technology sector to become more inclusive, diverse, and welcoming of voices from across humanity, and around the world. 

A culture is not a set of beliefs. It’s a set of actions. So to kick-start this flywheel, we are committing $250k upfront, and a further $1M in matching donations over the next 12 months. 

How do I donate? 

The Access Fund is a Donor Advisory Fund managed by Overflow.co, founded by On Deck Alumni Vance Roush (ODF2) and Kyle Woumn (ODF3). Donations to the Access Fund provide tax benefits. Click here to learn more and donate. 


Get tactical advice sent straight to your inbox every month.

Aaron Appleton
Abhijeet Patra
Abhishek Anirudhan
Ada Nguyen
Adam Gelman
Afraj Gill
Akanksha Manik Talya
Alexandra Barr
Alexandra Worthington
Ali Greenberg
Allison Dea-Kemp
Amaan Sayed
Amine Aboura
Amrutha Adusumilli
Amy Story
Anastasia Chapman
Andre Bjork
Andrea Torres
Andreas Klinger
Andrew Rea
Andrew Yu
Angie Ryan
Ani Pai
Ann Ferracane
Ann Miura-Ko
Anna Drabovskaya
Anne Bosman
Anthony Nardini
Ari Calumpang
Ari Gootnick
Arielle Tannenbaum
Ashley Tolbert
Ashna Mahtani
Ashwin Lalendran
Barry Conrad
Bea Aguila
Becky Stephens
Benjamin Plummer
Bernadeth Madlangbayan
Blue Davis
Brandon Taleisnik
Brandon Zhang
Brennan Foo
Brett Wietecha
Brianne Ilagan
Callum McDonnell
Candice Ammori
Carly Dalgleish
Carolyn Wakulchik
Chai Flores
Chaitanya Choudhary
Chance McAllister
Charles Cushing
Charlie Taibi
Charm Lagura
Chioma Kalu
Chris Moreno
Cillian Hunter
Clara Ma
Conor Brady
Cullin McGrath
Curtis Cummings
Curtis Sandy
Danitra Blue
David Booth
David Fallarme
David Hoang
David Weinstein
Denise Devlyn
Dishita Shah
Don Ho
Donté Verrill Huffman
Eade Bengard
Edgar Brown
Egor Zaitsev
Eliot Gattegno
Eliza Popa
Emily Edmonds
Eric Friedman
Erik Torenberg
Erika Batista
Flo Bühringer
Gajus Kuizinas
Gautam Shewakramani
Gianna Chan
Gonz Sanchez
Halden Ingwersen
Haleigh Wilson
Harshita Jain
Hayley Wade
Holly Stinson
Ilia Schelokov
Imran Mumtaz
Jack Fritzinger
Jackie Miller
Jackie Williams
Jackson Steger
Jake Hurwitz
Jake Schonberger
Jake Singer
James Sinka
Jamie Farrell
Janel Loi
Jared Gordon
Jason Piersialla
Jenna Kellner
Jeremy Sto Tomas
Joanna Cohen
Joe Penn
John Yang
Jolisa Masucol
Josefin Graebe
Josh Sushan
Julia Culhane
Julian Weisser
Justine Kim
Karel van der Vyver
Karthik Puvvada (KP)
Katarina Smith
Katie Kent
Katya Delaney
Kelly Hook
Kelly Kang
Kieran Ryan
Lana-Lea Dennis
Lauren Hoffman
Laís de Oliveira
Lei Ugale
Leon van der Vyver
Liam Herbst
Lili Welch
Lital Zigelboim
Lorenzo Castro
Lucía Júdez-Serrano
Manar AlSagob
Manoj Soundarajan
Margot Black
Maria Jimena Sanchez
Mariya Boykova
Marshall Kosloff
Marty Bode
Matias Sanchez Sarmiento
Max Nussenbaum
Michael Bassani
Michael Butler
Michael Gill
Michelle Kwok
Mike Daugherty
Mike Wilner
Mindaugas Petrutis
Mindy Zhang
Minn Kim
Mohga Koshty
Morris Huang
Natalie Toren
Nate Snow
Nathan Cheng
Nico Ordonez Beltran
Nur Sevencan
Omer Kalderon
Owen Willis
Pablo Pinto
Patrick Blumenthal
Patrick Watson
Paul Gleger
Paula Abarca
Payam Salehi
Pujaa Rajan
Rachel Farley
Randi Kay
Rebecca Senchak
Reza Saeedi
Rishi Tripathy
Rod Cherkas
Rodrigo Bou
Rui Nunes
Sabrina Fathi
Sachin Maini
Safwaan Khan
Sahar Mor
Salomé Taieb
Sam Huleatt
Sar Haribhakti
Sara Hennings
Sarah Rothenberg
Satya Chheda
Saul Diez-Guerra
Savannah Sodeman
Selena Carrion
Shriya Nevatia
Sierra Ching
Siffrein Diana
Simas Gradeckas
Siya Raj Purohit
Sonal Chokshi
Stef Lewandowski
Stephanie Ananian
Steve Reilly
Steven Schmatz
Talal Syed