In just two weeks, tens of thousands of people in Silicon Valley have lost their jobs after Twitter, Meta, Stripe and other tech companies laid off double-digit percentages of their workforce.
More job cuts in the tech sector could follow in the coming weeks: Google and Amazon recently imposed hiring slowdowns and freezes, according to Google and Amazon The Washington Postand Amazon plans to lay off about 10,000 employees, The New York Times reports.
So that begs the question: where are all these workers going to go?
Masha Bucher believes some of the people hit by tech layoffs this year will start their own successful businesses – so much so that she’s willing to bet $2 million on it.
On November 8th, Day One Ventures, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm Bucher founded in 2018, announced “Promoted, Not Fired” a program that aims to invest $100,000 in 20 new startups, each with at least one founder recently fired by a tech company.
“VC investors are sitting on billions of dollars and now we have thousands of talented people in tech, sales, support and other roles looking for new employment opportunities – so why not put some of that money to work for them?” Bucher, who is also a personally liable partner in the company, told CNBC does it.
The 33-year-old understands firsthand the fear and confusion that comes with letting go — she’s been fired twice during her career, the first time when she was just 19. While she felt “disheartened and embarrassed” at the time, Bucher is ultimately grateful for the experience.
“Being laid off was the best thing that has ever happened to me,” she says, adding that becoming a full-time entrepreneur was a “wake-up call” for her.
Born and raised in rural Russia, Bucher spent the early part of her career at the helm of Nashi, a pro-government Russian youth movement backed by the Kremlin (she claims she did). long shunned Russian funding and told The Wall Street Journal that her past with Nashi was “another life”).
In 2014, Bucher emigrated to the US and opened an M&A PR studio that has run advertising campaigns for clients such as Houzz, HotelTonight and WeWork, as well as other tech companies (the studio is still active, but Bucher left in 2018 to focus on building from Day to focus on a gamble).
Bucher used the skills and connections from her blossoming tech career to launch Day One Ventures just four years later. The company has raised approximately $100 million, invested that money in over 100 companies and advanced their communications strategies. Day One Ventures’ portfolio spans a variety of companies, from email tool Superhuman to parenting website Winnie.
Aspiring founders don’t need a fully drafted startup pitch to qualify for the program — the application only asks for details about the founders’ background, their startup ideas, business interests, areas of expertise, and a compelling reason why they should receive the funding.
The application deadline for Funded Not Fired is November 25, 2022, with final decisions to be announced by December 20, 2022. Bucher says she and her team have already received hundreds of applications.
She stressed that the program is “not a charity” and that while they are the inspiration for “Funded Not Fired,” former Stripe and Twitter employees are not given preferential treatment.
“I hope that we do something more than just give technicians hope,” says Bucher. “Being a founder can be one of the most creative and rewarding jobs in the world, one where you can have a big, far-reaching impact… I want to introduce people to this path and show them that there are other ways to be successful.”
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