Announcing the SPC Founder Fellowship

To help support founders in the -1 to 0 stage of building, we've put together a unique program: $400k in funding pre-idea.

Announcing the SPC Founder Fellowship
A sampling of the 60+ companies started at South Park Commons

Submitted by The SPC Founder Fellowship Team

Applications for the SPC Founder Fellowship are currently closed. Follow us on Medium and on Twitter @southpkcommons for details on future cohort applications!

South Park Commons is a community of builders and tinkerers that encourage each other to embrace the unknown and experiment with new ideas. In the spirit of experimenting with new ideas, the SPC Fund team collaborated with current SPC members Avichal Garg and Curtis Spencer on a new way to help founders navigate the -1 to 0 stage of building a venture-backed company. This culminated in Avichal creating the “Startup Forum,” a 12 week internal program focused on company-building fundamentals, covering everything from identifying the right market to successfully raising a seed round. The program was extremely popular with the initial cohort of 14 founders and we are excited to build on it with the SPC Founder Fellowship.

The team running the fellowship are builders at heart. Between us — Ruchi Sanghvi, Aditya Agarwal, Avichal Garg, Curtis Spencer, Mitra Lohrasbpour and Finn Meeks — we have successfully started and exited five companies, served in leadership roles at Facebook, Dropbox, and Google, have been board members for breakout unicorns, and have been angel investors in companies with a combined market cap of over $50 billion. Moreover, we love nothing more than supporting founders in the earliest days of their journey and helping them build. It’s what we do every day at South Park Commons. We are excited to roll up our sleeves and work closely with every Fellow to bring their vision to life.

Fellows will get $400K in funding, a spot in our next Startup Forum, individual support from our Fund’s partners and advisors, and more. We believe that every founder should have the runway to explore on the timeline that works for them — even before they have an idea. We welcome the next generation of bold pre-idea founders to apply for this program and join us at South Park Commons.


How do I apply?

Applications are currently closed, but we will post news about future cohort applications on this blog—make sure to subscribe to stay up to date!

What is the SPC Founder Fellowship?

SPC Founder Fellowship is a different way for entrepreneurs to start a high growth, venture-backable startup. We give founders their first outside investment, help them go from idea to product to high growth startup, and raise from the best VCs in the world.

We take a boutique and customized approach to helping founders. We believe a one-size-fits-all approach to starting companies rarely works in an industry where only 0.01% companies succeed. We will work with a few founders and companies rather than hundreds of companies at once. We do not have a demo day so you can raise when the time is right. We do not force strict timelines. We have one partner for every two companies.

We offer $400,000 to founders to pursue an idea. We can help identify the right market, build the first product, find co-founders, find first customers, and help raise a seed round from the top investors in the world.

How does SPC Founder Fellowship work?

Fellows will receive:


  • $400,000 for 7% equity via a SAFE

SPC Startup Forum

  • 12-week Curriculum — program put on by the SPC Community with other founders and domain experts centered around a proprietary curriculum. We have collected time-tested articles, videos, and books on thinking about markets, ideas, and products the way the world’s best founders and investors do. This helps founders avoid common pitfalls and increase their chances of finding a successful high growth startup.
  • Speaker Series — we invite speakers to attend our weekly Forum, to join us for dinners, and for one-off events. Prior speakers have included Elad Gil, Connie Chan, Sriram Krishnan, Reid Hoffman, and more.


  • Milestone-based workshops — work with fund partners to hit milestones in the ideation, validation, and prototyping phases. These sessions will help share goals, build momentum, and drive accountability. We will focus on PMF, prototyping, recruiting, best practices for continuous deployment, instrumentation to analyze product and metrics, etc. The emphasis will be on “doing”
  • Luminary Chats — Intimate discussions with tech luminaries such as public company CEOs, domain experts, and investors. Past guests have included Alfred Lin, Reid Hoffman, Mike Krieger, David Sacks etc.
  • Alumni Forum — an online forum to continue the conversation with other founders in your cohort and SPC alumni to ask for advice and help others in the community, even after the fellowship is over.
  • Access to domain experts across a variety of fields in artificial intelligence, machine learning, self driving vehicles, blockchain, fintech, social networks, energy, developer tools, and more.
  • Access to a network of founders and executives from the seed stage to IPO at companies ranging from OpenAI, Google, and SpaceX to breakout companies such as Figma, Notion, Airtable, Pilot, Compound and more.
  • Hands-on fundraising support to raise your seed round such as helping founders craft the deck and introductions to the top angel investors, seed firms, and VCs.
  • $200K in credits from AWS, Google Cloud, Brex, Pulley, and other companies

How is SPC Founder Fellowship different from other accelerators or incubators?

We help at the -1 to 0 phase, even before a founder has an idea.

  • More money and a higher valuation for your company. Most accelerators offer smaller checks for more equity. We offer $400K for less equity, in many cases more than doubling your valuation. We believe great ideas may take more than a few months to materialize and founders should avoid doing unnatural things because they are cash-constrained.
  • No idea necessary. We can help you find a great market and idea for which you are well suited.
  • No cofounder needed. Some of the best companies in history have been started by a single founder.
  • No demo day pressure. We will help you raise your round on the timeline that makes sense for your product and company.
  • No fixed timelines. Fintech, biotech, blockchain, and consumer startups need different amounts of time to get off the ground. We’ll work on validating ideas and fundraising on a timeline that makes the most sense for your idea.

Do I need an idea to apply?

You do not need an idea to apply.

That being said, a great idea is a critical component to long term success. If you do not have an idea, we will need to assess your ability to generate great ideas. Be prepared to discuss markets you find interesting, previous ideas you have considered and discarded, and the sorts of startup ideas and insights you find compelling and why.

Can I apply as a solo founder or do I need a cofounder?

You can apply as a solo founder, with co-founders, or in search of co-founders. Success in high growth startups is idiosyncratic — you can start one yourself like Jeff Bezos at Amazon, with cofounders with unequal equity split like Reid Hoffman and his several cofounders at LinkedIn, or with equal cofounders like Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Google.

What are the application deadlines?

Application deadline: Friday, January 8, 2021 at Midnight PST

Interviews: January 11–16, 2021

Program Start Date: Thursday, January 21, 2021 — UPDATE: We received many more applications than expected and will be pushing this back by 1–2 weeks to give our team time to review them all.

Apply here:

Who is behind the SPC Founder Fellowship?

Startup Forum is organized and run by Ruchi Sanghvi, Aditya Agarwal, Avichal Garg, Curtis Spencer, Finn Meeks, Mitra Lohrasbpour. We are builders, entrepreneurs, and technologists who love helping other entrepreneurs succeed. We have successfully started and exited five companies, served in leadership roles at Facebook, Dropbox, and Google, have been board members for breakout unicorns, and have been angel investors in companies with a combined market cap of over $50 billion.

60 companies have used the South Park Commons approach since 2017 and have raised $400M in funding for a combined market cap of over $2.9B.