Honestly, we have been overwhelmed by the level of interest and quality of responses we have seen since we announced the Circles program.Within one week of launch, we received close to 700 applications from company leaders spanning a wide variety of industries, stages and categories. Due to the significant demand, we decided to extend our original plan of launching with 3–5 cohorts and we will now launch with at least 10 cohorts and we launched the first circles this week.

We were also impressed by the number of extremely successful and experienced mentors who responded to our call, offered to…


Image: Mark Borthwick

Under normal circumstances founders need ways to share the challenges of entrepreneurship with other founders ~ today isn’t normal. With the sudden onslaught of COVID-related challenges, more than ever, founders need peer support.

Today we are launching a product to meet this need.

Circles is a free 6-week, peer-to-peer, mentorship program for founders and company leaders

Circles at Betaworks Studios is a 6-week, free, peer-to-peer mentorship program for founders and company leaders. Each cohort will provide intimate and confidential support for founders as they navigate running a startup during this crisis. Each group will be curated and led by an experienced entrepreneur — entrepreneurs we know well at Betaworks, many former founders of…


The internet is broken. And yes, we tried turning it off and back on, but that didn’t work.

Rather we are launching a new program at Betaworks starting today called Betalab, where, in collaboration with Lupa Systems, we will fund early stage startups that aim to Fix The Internet.

We’re doing this because there is a growing sense now that technology is creating more problems than it’s solving. This wasn’t always the case. There was a time when we shared an overriding optimism in tech’s capacity to make the world a better place.

For me that sense of unbridled optimism…


Photo by Element5 Digital

We, the undersigned, met in December at Betaworks Studios to discuss immediate steps the major social media companies can take to help safeguard our democratic process and mitigate the weaponization of their platforms in the run-up to the 2020 U.S. elections. Collectively, we represent a Facebook co-founder, former Facebook, Google and Twitter employees, early Facebook and Twitter investors, academics, non-profit leaders, national security and public policy professionals. …


In a post two weeks ago, I outlined a human-first framework for development and startup creation. In this post, I want to summarize the emerging technologies we are focused on at betaworks. Most of these new technologies are end-user, consumer-focused, many of them are new interfaces — all of them have the potential to disrupt today’s incumbent platforms. As I described in the previous post, change usually happens fitfully — nothing, slowly, nothing, slowly, nothing, nothing, and then boom: change. 💧..💧..💧.💧💧💧..💦 ...🌊 …


Technology has a hole in it, I can feel it. Something isn’t right and while the current era of technology platforms feels like it has reached its zenith, there is something missing from the way many people are talking about the future.

Technology has a hole in it

We have 2.5 billion smartphone users today — each of whom has access to all the knowledge of the world — yet these devices often aren’t working for them nor consistently making their lives better. And rather than a flourishing of creativity and cultural energy, we are seeing people drift in a haze of information overload, likes/social anxiety, and sometimes depression. Rather than technology spreading the freedom we enjoy, we are seeing technology weaken our democracy. The tools we have built are used by enemies of our way of life and culture to sow seeds of fear and chaos. …


Vivian Schiller and I ran a session this past week at betaworks Studio about synthetic media. It was a private event for members and guests and off the record, so I can’t share in detail, but it was a fascinating discussion, with an amazing breadth and depth of people — I want to share some high-level thoughts about what I learnt and came away with.

What is Synthetic media?

Synthetic media is the term we use at betaworks to describe algorithmically created or modified media — the nefarious version of this are deepfakes. We have been thinking about this for a while now and…


We opened the doors to our new club for builders this week. In February I wrote about why we are opening Studios - below is some color from week one.


Late last year we shut down the betaworks office in Meatpacking and we transformed the space. This Spring we will open the doors to the first “betaworks Studios” — a club for builders. This is a new company and a new way to experience betaworks.

A place for builders

As technology reshapes every aspect of our world people all over are becoming builders. Builders are startup people, entrepreneurs, but builders are also the people who are changing the way they live and work as they remain part of a company or work freelance. Builders are creators who want to shape how technology affects their…


Last year, we set up betaworks ventures, a $50m seed and series A fund, with myself, Matt Hartman, and Peter Rojas as partners. Today I am sharing some details about the fund, announcing our new venture fellows program and sharing some learnings one year into the fund.

Venture Capital is Changing

The landscape of venture capital is changing. One measure of that change has been the multitude of products available now to help people and companies get started. …

John Borthwick

CEO @betaworks

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