GPS was invented by the Department of Defense nearly fifty years ago. In the pursuing five decades, it’s found its way into nearly every facet of life, from the directions you follow and the plane on which you fly to the food you order and the groceries you purchase.

Yet in those fifty years, the technology has failed to advance to a place where it can be used for the interconnected and autonomous age. GPS in cars and phones is accurate only to a few meters (or worse, if supporting systems like cellular, bluetooth, and wifi are unavailable) and autonomous vehicles need positioning service that works to the foot or inches in busy conditions. …


We work with a lot of people at the beginning of their careers at 1517. Many of those people are founders. Others go to work for the founders we know and our portfolio companies.

Every now and then, we get questions about how to get a job working in tech investing and venture capital. Instead of just ignoring the person or telling them that we’re not currently hiring, we want to give constructive feedback on their job search.

We’ve generally found that very few students know how to effectively ask for a job that other people want. …


1517 hosted a workshop on how to best work from home with Lisette Sutherland. She is the director of Collaboration Superpowers, a company that helps people work together from anywhere through online and in-person workshops. She also produces a weekly podcast featuring interviews with remote working experts highlighting the challenges and successes of working with virtual teams.

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Lisette’s tips were incredibly helpful, very thoughtful, and novel. Working from home and remote video meetings need to be treated as their own art form. You can’t just take a regular meeting, put it online, and expect in-person results.

She tells us how to make online meetings engaging, fun, and how to set the right tone and mood. Check out her super kit to get started with some actionable tools. …


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Apply for a $1k grant here!

On Monday, March 16th, we announced 1517 would be offering our $1k grants to teams working on ideas to mitigate the effects of the current crisis. We’ve received over sixty submissions through our website form, plus a number of direct emails, all with the help of groups such as the Covid Accelerator. If you’re a startup that needs more funding, checkout what our friends at SOSV are doing, Emergent Ventures are offering $1M in prizes for COVID projects, MarsBio has a call out for proposals, as does the Gates Foundation. …


1517 gathered leaders in education, especially in homeschooling circles, for a panel and QA on how to address the next couple of months while children are educating at home during these uncertain times of school closures.

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Check out Blake’s book “The Art of Self Directed Learning” which is geared towards teens!

One of the biggest takeaways is to view this time as a way to reset how you want your family to interact. You’re a team, going through a tough and unusual time. Be more focused on staying calm and happy at home as the foundation that learning will take place in over time.

You can view a replay of our hour workshop below, as well as access the chat log with some great…


Call your parents and grandparents. Do not text them, do not link them to articles. Call them.

Why? Because hearing the sound and tone of your voice may save their life or the lives of those around them. Your family members who are 60+ and especially those without good health (this includes people who are overweight, which is a lot of Americans) or who are immune compromised are most at risk of death from coronavirus.

I called my mom yesterday asking her about if she had at least two weeks worth of food. She assured me that she did, but when she went to the grocery store to get some extras, she was alarmed by the empty shelves and decided that she might do well to buy extra canned goods for her and her neighbors. She thanked me for calling her to check in last night and told me that it was the phone call that made her even make the trip to the store. …


TL;DR: Be safe out there! 1517 is taking pitches for $1k grants on ideas to mitigate the effects of the crisis and continuing to deploy capital to great companies. Lots of thoughts on global trends below.

Here is a quantitative overview, scientific webinar (first 15 minutes are an overview), and video on how exponential growth and epidemics work, about the coronavirus crisis and the health effects on the world and global businesses.

People turn to leadership in times of crisis, if that means being a leader by taking your team remote, or helping your neighbors, or building resources for others to navigate this online, now is the time to step up. …


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Meet Tulsa’s Cashnip Kitty — raking it in for charity

Last week Michael and I returned from a roadshow in Oklahoma visiting investors and founders in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. We were last in OKC five years ago, and by all accounts it was a ghost town. I remember crossing a major street to a restaurant with zero other humans in sight — it was eerie. Last week it was vibrant with a lot more energy. When we first got to Tulsa, Michael immediately picked up on the hipster vibes and quirky nature of the city (for example, meet the Cashnip Kitty who has collected $7K for the homeless). Tulsa is rightly being compared to Austin from twenty years ago but what people are missing is that I think its entrepreneurial trajectory has the potential to take off much more quickly than outsiders suspect because of their community of founders, GPs, and LPs that strongly work together — we’re looking forward to collaborating more with this city. …


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1517 has social events once/quarter in San Francisco. Contact us to join for a future one!

We spend a lot of time on campuses across North America building relationships with students and student entrepreneurship programs. One of the most frequent questions we are asked is about what young entrepreneurs need that differs from their more senior peers.

There are definitely differences, but the place I see the most differences are in teams that have been guided through university programs (this includes professors taking IP out of universities, so it’s not just about age) versus through other startup processes and hence through the market (customer feedback, good accelerators, angel investors, etc.).

We have been working with a university that is focused on bettering their programming for students and offered the following feedback. Upon writing it, I realized that it’s highly applicable to student entrepreneurs in general or those breaking tech out of universities. …


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Danielle (and froyo) in our new office at 101 Montgomery.

Founders go through lots of “firsts” and we’re starting a new series based on those learnings — this one is about office space. Our founders had a lot to say and we’ve distilled their write ups into some key areas.

What is your top one or two tips on picking/setting up an office space?

Don’t Overlook Layout

An office is more than just a place to meet and do some work. How your offices is set up influences who meets whom in the company, how people spend their time, and what visitors think.

Scott at Deepgram points out that you may want to put sales and engineering in different parts of the office, but if you do, they may never…

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1517 Fund

1517 supports technology companies led by young founders. “A real education is a liberation.” — Nietzsche

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