We designed this program to make sure they get the support they need, from relevant peers, in a comfortable and confidential environment.
NEW YORK (PRWEB) March 18, 2020
Six globally renowned venture capital firms join together to launch Off The Record, a non-profit organization to provide a facilitated peer network for founders of venture-backed startups. Investors recognize that there is a lack of resources for founders of seed and series A startups, particularly in building a strong peer support network, and have launched this program to provide resources to entrepreneurs in their portfolio.
The initiative was founded by Laconia, Nextview Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Differential Ventures, Tribeca Venture Partners, and Valuestream Ventures.
“We have always worked hard to support our founders and now we can help them address issues that they are not comfortable sharing with investors, colleagues, or spouses,” says Jeffrey Silverman, Managing Partner at Laconia Capital and Chairman of Off The Record. “We designed this program to make sure they get the support they need, from relevant peers, in a comfortable and confidential environment.”
Off The Record organizes founders into pods with up to 10 similar entrepreneurs. Pods are designed to connect like-minded founders to provide support in both personal and professional aspects of running a high pressure, venture-backed startup company. Off The Record provides guidelines and loose oversight of each pod, but ultimately the founders are responsible for guiding the interactions to best fit their needs.
"Entrepreneurship is a terrifying, against-all-odds struggle to bring something new and beautiful into the world. With few exceptions, tech investors and press focus too much on the successes and too little on the struggle and our well-being as founders,” says Jay Bregman, CEO of Thimble and an early participant in the program. “Off The Record is an important, tangible step in providing a next-generation support system for entrepreneurs.”
In addition to the founder pods, Off The Record provides entrepreneurs with speaking opportunities, customer and investor introductions, working groups to address industry issues, and workshops for their team members.
As a first-time founder, I don't have many examples to lean on in terms of how board meetings should go, what reporting should look like, or how to think about spending my time as the CEO of a 20-person team,” explains Rachel Renock, the founder & CEO of Wethos, a fast growing startup based in New York. “OTR gave me a peer group that was open and helpful, exposed me to how others run their companies, and provided actionable tools to implement quickly.
Off The Record has a deep network of corporations and executives who serve as advisors, customers, and partners for the founders, including Carta, Microsoft, Davis & Gilbert, WeWork, Cohn Reznick, Brex, and First Republic who provide generous resources and expertise to our community.
The program was originally launched in early 2019 and was only open to startup executives with investments from the founding venture capital funds. As of January 2020, the program has expanded to welcome the broader startup community and now counts over 100 participating founders and 60 partner venture capital funds, mainly in New York.
Membership for the platform is exclusively for founders and requires startups to be nominated by one of the 60 venture funds affiliated with the organization.
The organization is structured as a 501(c)6 non-profit, independent of the founding venture capital firms. This ensures the organization focuses exclusively on its core mission to support startup founders.
Off The Record currently operates in New York, and has plans to quickly expand to other leading startup cities. “The demand we have seen from startups around the country has been incredible,” according to Joshua Kleyman, the Executive Director of Off The Record. “We already have extensive waitlists with founders from Boston, Los Angeles, and Miami and plan on expanding our program to those cities in the coming months.