At Chapter One, smaller is better. When I created Fund One, I wanted to keep AUM small to make sure I know what the hell I am doing.
I’ve seen first time fund managers raise massive funds, which is cool, but I’ve always thought of Chapter One as being a product with Fund One as my MVP.
When I became a full-time investor, people told me that I would miss the quick feedback loops — but Chapter One is iterating and today we’re releasing our most exciting product to date.
We are excited to launch Product Club, an early stage product mentorship program specifically designed to help you build your products from scratch.
I’ve wanted to launch an accelerator for over 5 years. During this time, I thought hard about how to compete with Y Combinator, which isn’t the right goal. I spoke with people who spent lots of money trying to beat YC, and most no longer exist.
I also did a ton of user research in 2019 and 2020, and I kept hearing the same thing from entrepreneurs — “accelerators are too big now”. The best program in the world graduates 200 companies per batch, which can be overwhelming for founders and investors.
I also love Y Combinator. They are the best in the world at what they do and I’m not naive enough to think that I can compete. So, I am taking the opposite approach: smaller classes sizes that are focused on a single value proposition.
Product Club will focus on accelerating a small number of companies with an intense focus on product development and design, starting this summer.
The principles that make us different from YC or other programs:
Maniacal Focus On Product & Design:
We are going to spend a lot of time building the product together. If you prefer a program that is 100% focused on product development, then you should apply.
Private product sessions with best-in-class product leaders:
Every week, teams will have a private 1:1 session with top product leaders from Uber, Twitter, Slack, Adobe, Robinhood, and Tinder.
The workshops will be very tactical and customized to your specific team needs. Our insanely talented group of product mentors include:
Access To Top Designers for Free:
Each team will get 10+ hours of free design work from hand-picked design partners for anything you need. We carefully selected designers with different skills (branding, mobile, web, etc.) and will be adding more soon.
Our partners who you will get “free design hours” with include:
- Ty Wilkins (Robinhood, Google, Scale) — one of the best visual designers I’ve ever worked with and created Robinhood Gold branding.
- Madeleine Lee (Squarespace, Snackpass) — Squarespace product designer and helped create gamification mechanics at Snackpass.
- Ryan Mick (Tinder) —my longtime collaborator. Lead designer on Tinder Gold, with a deep consumer mobile background.
Sprint Planning & Standups:
We will do sprint planning every two weeks along with and daily standups (fast so they’re not annoying). This process will simulate the same one we used to develop all of our revenue products at Tinder.
Smaller Is Better:
We jokingly call ourselves “the world’s smallest accelerator” and are only funding up to three companies per batch. If you find an accelerator that is smaller, please don’t tweet at us.
Built in Public:
Most accelerators keep things relatively quiet until Demo Day, but we recognize that everyone can learn from a founder’s journey as they build out their product. Thus, we’ll be sharing as much as we can — publicly — along the way so Product Club can benefit more than just the three companies in our 2020 batch.
Other helpful things to know:
Deadline: Apply by July 19th
Demo Day with our 80+ LPs:
Our LPs are tier one funds and angels. Our demo day will be three companies only, so you’ll get their full attention.
Selected companies will receive $100,000 to run their early stage product experiments in return for 5% equity.
At the conclusion of the program, we will help you raise your seed round with investor network via an online demo day with our top LPs and angels.
Program begins on August 3rd and lasts 10 weeks.