You Can’t Save ’em All

At 1517 we get a lot of requests for help and support from all kinds of founders from all over the world. And luckily we’re able to work with a lot of them through our community, mentorship, and sometimes by becoming capital partners.

We have a special thesis where we love to support those who haven’t been to college or who haven’t finished a degree with their sites set on learning by starting companies or other projects.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to a church door in Wittenberg to protest the sale of indulgences. These were pieces of paper the establishment church sold at great cost, telling people it would save their souls. The church made a fortune doing it. Likewise, universities today are selling a piece of paper at great cost and telling people that buying it is the only way they can save their souls. Universities call it a diploma, and they’re making a fortune doing it. Call us heretical if you like, but the 1517 Fund is dedicated to dispelling that paper illusion. Extraordinary careers are possible outside tracked institutions.

That said, we hear from a lot of diploma-holding individuals who would like our support. On rare occasion we break from our thesis, in the name of science fiction, when a company is doing something so radical that we have to take a peek. But since there are still only 24 hours in a day, we do our best to focus on the rebels we serve. We put these resources together for those of you reaching out who may need some support but that we don’t have time to take a meeting with since the founding team is outside our thesis.

Further readings:

Our anti-pitch playbook goes over what we look for in founders and companies. We think other preseed investors and angels look for similar things, so we hope this helps you to pitch others as well.

Intros are an important part of business. We’ve written about the how-to’s here, here, and here.

Thinking about caps and valuations on your company in the early days? Don’t Let Your Cap Kill You is an important piece in how to think about being in the market of startups.

We also have a podcast that interviews founders for their learnings, talks with angel investors, and a whole host of random topics.

Other early investors you might check out:

Precursor Ventures — Precursor Ventures is a classic seed stage venture capital firm investing in long-term relationships with founders they believe in.

Village Global — Village is not a traditional VC. They’re a network. From how they invest in startups to how they help founders — they operate as a network.

Hustle Fund — They invest in hilariously-early hustlers.

Montage Ventures — A venture capital firm actively investing in financial services, e-Commerce, marketplaces and healthcare start-ups.

Onward and upward!