Laid-off tech workers could get $100,000 to start their own business from this venture capital firm

Laid-off tech workers could get $100,000 to start their own business from this venture capital firm

In just two weeks, tens of thousands of people lost their jobs in Silicon Valley after Twitter, Meta, Stripe and other tech companies laid off double-digit percentages of their workforce.

More tech job cuts could follow in the coming weeks: Google and Amazon recently instituted hiring slowdowns and freezes, according to the Washington Post, and Amazon plans to lay off about 10,000 employees , reports the New York Times.

So that begs the question: where will all these workers go?

Masha Bucher thinks some of those affected by tech layoffs this year will go on to build successful businesses of their own — so much so that she’s willing to bet $2 million on it.

On November 8, Day One Ventures, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm Bucher launched in 2018, announced “Funded Not Fired,” a program that aims to invest $100,000 in 20 new startups that each have at least a founder who was recently fired from a technology company.

“Venture investors are sitting on billions of dollars, and now we have thousands of talented people in engineering, sales, support staff and other functions looking for new job opportunities. – so why not devote some of that money to them?” Bucher, who is also a general partner at the firm, tells CNBC Make It.

The 33-year-old understands firsthand the fear and confusion that comes with being let go – she’s been fired twice in 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.

“Getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me,” she says, adding that it was a “wake-up call” for her to become a full-time entrepreneur.

Born and raised in rural Russia, Bucher spent the first part of her career leading Nashi, a pro-government Russian youth movement backed by the Kremlin (she claims she long avoided Russian funding and has said to the Wall Street Journal that his past with Nashi was “another life”).

In 2014, Bucher immigrated to the United States and opened an M&A PR studio, which has run advertising campaigns for clients including Houzz, HotelTonight, and WeWork, among other tech companies (the studio is still active, however, Bucher left in 2018 to focus on building Day One Ventures).

Bucher leveraged the skills and connections from his burgeoning tech career to start Day One Ventures four years later. The company has raised around $100 million, investing that money in more than 100 companies and directing their communication strategies. Day One Ventures’ portfolio includes a wide range of businesses, from messaging tool Superhuman to parenting website Winnie.

Aspiring Founders do not need a fully fleshed out startup pitch to qualify for the program – the application simply asks for details of the Founders background, startup ideas, business interests, areas of expertise and a compelling reason why they should receive the fund.

The deadline to apply for the “Funded Not Fired” is Nov. 25, 2022, and final decisions will be announced by Dec. 20, 2022. Bucher says she and her team have already received hundreds of applications.

She stressed that the program is “not charitable” and that former Stripe and Twitter employees won’t get preferential treatment, even though they were the inspiration behind “Funded Not Fired.”

“I hope we’re doing more than just giving tech workers hope,” Bucher said. “Being a founder can be one of the most creative and rewarding jobs in the world, a job 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.’

Want to earn more and work less? Register for the free virtual CNBC Make It: Your Money event on December 13 at 12 p.m. ET to learn from money masters like Kevin O’Leary how you can increase your earning power.


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