Round 3 deadline: 15th July, 2024!

work sucks, start a company, it’ll be fun. we’ll match your salary, you keep ~90% equity

Apply to join

Free program with optional investment

Mentors who've built multi-million dollar businesses

Host

Founder, CEO, ContactOut

$10M USD revenue, $5M profit bootstrapped.
Leads a global team of 50 staff.

Limited Partner at hustlefund.vc, iterative.vc, and blackbird.vc. Angel investor, 500 Startup Alum.

Rob’s startup course has 1M+ views on YouTube.

Mentor

Hmlet, a co-living company raised $40M USD from Sequoia

Mentor

BukuWarung, a fintech companyraised $80M USD from Peter Thiel's Valar, 400 staff

Mentor

Una Brand an e-com company, raised $100M USD, $70M revenue

No startup experience required.

You'll learn step by step how to build an 8 figure business from zero. We'll guide you on finding co-founders, ideation, product, sales, marketing + more.






You can participate in the program whilst studying or working.

Startups are not risky.

Everyone we know who's worked 10 years on startups is making $500,000 USD in profit.


Startups fail because people quit.
It takes 10 years to be a doctor, 10 years to be a lawyer, 10+ years to get good at anything. It's the same with being a founder, but your upside is uncapped.

The most actionable startup curriculum ever

100+ resources compiled into a 12-month program.

We've spent the last 15 years studying 1,000+ startup resources, battle testing what works on own business, and compiling the best of the best.

Other startup courses will tell you what to do on a high level. Athena.vc shows you exactly how to do it step by step.

View the curriculum

How To Start A Startup

Rob's startup course: screen shares, step by step tactics, real meeting recordings and case studies with 1 million+ views

Group coaching sessions

Weekly Ask Me Anything sessions.

Here participants share business challenges and our mentors will help brain-storm solutions.

Free to join, we prioritise questions from Athena founders.

Join AMA Session

Group coaching sessions

A community for the
very best founders

Focus group

6 founders meet for 1 hr/week to share learnings and discuss challenges, either in person or online. This is the core of Athena Founders. The discussion structure is based on YPO forum a learning group attended by 30% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

Online community

Founders will share weekly updates on: goals, learnings, activities, challenges, and provide feedback and hold each other accountable.

Mentorship sessions

Meet with successful founders who have built $1million+ businesses. We’ll invite speakers and we’ll teach each founder group how to find their own industry relevant speakers via Linkedin outreach.

Self directed learning

Athena is focused on peer to peer learning and self directed learning. You’ll get out what you put in.

Nobody is going to “teach” you entrepreneurship, because by definition entrepreneurs define new paths.

Starting a company is challenging. You have to make difficult decisions every day with imperfect information on problems you’ve likely never faced before.

In our experience, the best way to overcome the challenges is to surround yourself with founders doing the same thing. Learn from the wins and mistakes of others. Support each other and hold each other accountable.

Athena is

Strategies and tactics. Gain insights, ideas, and guidance from fellow founders.

Safe space. Judgment-free zone where you can share successes, failures, and challenges

Hitting goals and accountability.

Making friends. Find your next cofounder. Create business relationships.

Raising money. Our community has raised over 40 million and are connected to major VC firms.

Time commitment

The program requires a 20-hour/ week time commitment. Most of the time will be spent as self directed learning and building your business.

17 hours / week: Learning and building your business

1 hour / week: Focus group discussion with six other founders.

1 hour / week: Write up goals, learnings & discuss challenges

0.5 - 1 hour / week: Mentor coaching sessions

You can study while building a business, but it requires a full-time commitment of at least 30 hours per week

Athena accepts only smart, driven members serious about startups. Chat with a member and learn together.

Funding

Month 1

Athena Founders is free for the first 12 weeks

Members sign a commitment to 20 hours per week building their business whilst attending focus groups and writing up learnings & goals.

Month 3

Decide if Athena is right for you.

Do you want to commit to building a business with Athena? If not, we hope you got something out of the program and wish you all the best.

Month 4 onwards

2% equity for a 12 month program

Starting month 4, participants will incorporate a company and Athena will take a 2% equity stake. Additionally, Athena may choose to invest $10,000-$50,000 USD for a 5%-7% equity stake and help with further fundraising from 700+ investors.

Athena will choose to fund founders based on:

  • Progress made with their business

  • Weekly learnings and goals write-ups

  • Contribution to the community discussion

  • The amount of funding will also depend on the above.

  • Funds may be given in tranches.

What we’re looking for:

Coding ability

You can code or you are technical in another field like engineering, biotech or hardware. You're a maker. You build stuff.

Fast learner

You've gone through at least 10+ books and courses last year. You're a self directed learner and independent thinker.

Grit and determination

You commit 20 hours a week to working on a startup. You don't give up. You will succeed or die trying. 10 years to be a doctor, 10 years to be a lawyer, same with being a founder.

Program structure

Athena Founders
  • Free to join, no equity requirement

  • 1 hour / week group coaching

  • 1 hour / week founders focus group

  • Post weekly updates on goals, learnings, progress, challenges

Cash prizes for achieving goals:

  • $100 USD for studying 10 competitors

  • $100 for talking to 10 users writing up learning

  • $100 for talking 5 ex-founders / industry experts

  • $100 for building in public and posting weekly updates


Once you've achieved the above goals you'll be eligible for:

Athena Residency
  • We'll match your salary for 6 months so you can work full time on your startup, you keep 90%+ equity.

  • $10,000 - $20,000 USD funding for 5% - 10% equity on a post money SAFE

  • Distributed in 3 equal tranches over 6 months

    • Tranche 1: on acceptance

    • Tranche 2: study 50 similar companies, weekly updates, talk to 25 experts, and 50 users,

    • Tranche 3: study 100 companies, weekly updates, talk to 50 experts, and 100 users,

    • Tranches are based on putting in the work and 100% within the founders control.

    • Founders may opt out of receiving tranches if they don't need it.

  • Worst case you'll learn something and go back to your job with no loss in income, best case you'll be running a successful company.

  • You do not need a cofounder, or a business idea, or any startup experience. Just need to learn fast and work hard.

Appendix

Athena's mission

Fund 1 million founders in developing countries

  • Create a university for entrepreneurship

  • Start Silicon Valley ecosystems all over the world

  • Accelerate science, technology, human progress

  • Create trillions in wealth

Elitist capital

Accelerators like YC have rejected 400,000+ founders, whilst funding less than 1%. Venture capital firms fund even less. 3-4 deals per year. That's 0.25% out of the millions of founder they reject. Even early stage investors like Antler look for 10 years works experience, deep industry expertise and 50% of participants have founded a company before. Antler has 1% acceptance rate, 0.1% funding rate.

First believers

Athena will fund you when no other investor will. We'll write your first check. We'll fund: inexperienced founders, solo founders, young founders, weird founders - we like weird founders. Our acceptance rate is 20%, 20x higher than mainstream venture capital firms. But it's 100% up to you, complete all your goals, put in the work, we will fund you. We believe anyone can achieve anything they set their mind to. Fancy university degrees, senior job titles doesn't count for crap. If you work hard, learn fast and build stuff, you're in. You can learn everything else.

Valuation

Because we invest at the earliest stages, our valuation is also the lowest. $10,000 - $20,000 USD for 5% - 10%. YC's valuation is 20x higher. So if you can get into YC or raise angel funding you should do that. But if you can't then joining Athena Residency will likely 10x your chances.

YC vs Athena

If YC was Harvard. Athena would be community college. Did you know that Steve Jobs (Apple) attended De Anza community college, George Lucas (Star Wars) attended Modesto community College and Einstein went to Federal Polytechnic School? Harvard admits 1,800 students per year. Community college admits 4 million.

Athena's mentors are just as accomplished or more accomplished than YC mentors. Many YC founders have said Athena's curriculum is more actionable than YC's but you can be the judge of that.

Rob's first check

When I took my first investment it was 10k USD for 7.5%. It was a terrible valuation. I returned more than 20x the money in dividends alone. But was I a university drop out with no experience and no idea what I was doing? Yes. Was I venture fundable? No.

If I didn't get that angel check I may never have gone full time as a founder. I would of wasted another 3-5 years of my life in a job I hated. Is that worth 7.5%? Yes

90%+ equity vs 0% equity

So that's what we're offering we'll match your salary for 6 month and you keep 90%+ equity. That's definitely better than your current job where you're getting near 0% equity. Worst case you'll fail, learn something and go back with no loss in income, best case you'll be running a successful company.

Returns

The median return for a venture capital in South East Asia  0.4x in last 10 years, that's a -60% loss, compared to NASDAQ which grew 400%. If we want to raise billions of dollars in order to fund 1 million founders, we'd need to make returns to convince investors to deploy money. Investing at lower valuations allows us to take more 1000x risk and fund 1000x more founders, whilst being able to attract investors with a reasonable rate of return. Athena is a benefit corporation, profits will be reinvested back into funding more founders.

Small is better

The most impactful technologies are built by individuals and small groups. JavaScript was designed by 1 person as a summer project. Google was written by 2 people. Steve Wozniak single handedly built the Apple II including all the hardware and software. Microsoft's first BASIC was written by just Bill Gates and Paul Allen. There at 4 core researchers at OpenAI. All you need is enough money to pay for the founders living expenses to work full time. You don't need much money. You need hustle and determination. More money, more people will only slow you down. Hire once you get product market fit not before.

An alternative to university

Steve Wozniak (Apple) didn't learn anything about computers at university, he taught himself in high school by reading textbook and chip manuals and designing computers on paper. Einstein discovered the theory of relatively whilst working as a desk clerk and reading physics papers in his spare time. Elon Musk taught himself how to build SpaceX and Tesla.

Paul Graham (YC) describes school as Prison: a place to memorize meaningless facts so adults can get on with their day. Where all the work is pointless, and achieving results doesn't matter, so everything devolves into a popularity contest.

How to change the world

You have the entire trove of human knowledge in a device in your pocket.
WTF are you waiting for?

  • Pick an industry. What are you passionate about? Whats are the biggest problems in your life? What are the most important problems and technologies in the world?

    • Sam Altman's list: AI, Biotechnology, Energy, Government, Education, Income inequity.

    • Watch 100 pitches to see what latest technologies VC firms are investing in: YC, 500, Techstars

  • Study 100 companies in a high impact industry on YC and Crunchbase

  • Read 100 journal articles on Google Scholar, nature.com unlock with Sci Hub

  • Talk to 100 mentors, ex-founders, industry experts, talk to 100+ users

  • Become an expert and come up with a product that is 10x better than what's already out there.

That's how Elon Musk, and Sam Altman did it. There's no course at university for how to build SpaceX, Tesla or OpenAI.

Join us at Athena Founders

Apply to join

Free program with optional investment

© 2024 Athena VC. All rights reserved.

Appendix

Athena Founders vs University?

  • Instead of paying for university. Athena will pay you to learn.

  • Instead of learning about business from textbooks. You’ll actually go build a business.

  • Instead of learning from academics who’ve never built a company before. You’ll be mentored by successful founders.

Is what I’m learning in university actually useful?

What if we could learn how technology is used in industry and how companies are built before learning the academic theory to avoid learning useless stuff?

For example if I wanted to start a engineering, biotech or deeptech company I could:

  1. Youtube “day in the life” & factor tour videos e.g: BioNTech, Tesla, Samsung, GE Aerospace

  2. Study 100s of companies in the industry via Crunchbase & public company annual reports.

  3. Talk to industry mentors on Linkedin and intro.co

  4. Read science journal articles on nature and google scholar. Start with the editorial and summary articles that summarize the research (not the actual research papers).

  5. Finally go study the curriculum once you know how it's applied

  6. Start with Wikipedia and Coursera introductory courses

  7. Find the Stanford, Harvard, or MIT undergraduate curriculum and read all the textbooks used in the course by searching for the pdf version on google.

  8. Read research papers. Search using google scholar, free access using Sci Hub or Unpaywall.

  9. Reach out to researchers that wrote the papers, collaborate on projects, or volunteer to work in their labs. Put together a team of researchers.

  10. Raise venture capital funding if needed and start your company

What’s Athena’s ultimate goal?

  • Create a university for entrepreneurship and replace business degrees. Instead of learning about business, actually build a business.

  • Help 1 million founders start a business

  • Create Silicon Valley ecosystems all around the world

  • Create trillions in wealth and solve global poverty

Got a question?

© 2024 Athena VC. All rights reserved.

work sucks, start a company, it’ll be fun
we’ll match your salary, you keep ~90% equity

work sucks, start a company, it’ll be fun. we’ll match your salary, you keep
~90% equity

work sucks, start a company, it’ll be fun. we’ll match your salary, you keep ~90% equity.

Apply to join

Free program with optional investment

Mentors who've built multi-million dollar businesses

Host

Founder, CEO, ContactOut

$10M USD revenue, $5M profit bootstrapped.

Leads a global team of 50 staff.

Limited Partner at hustlefund.vc, iterative.vc, and blackbird.vc.
Angel investor, 500 Startup Alum.

Rob’s startup course has 1M+ views on YouTube.

Mentor

Hmlet, a co-living company raised $40M USD from Sequoia

Mentor

Fintech, raised $80M USD from Peter Thiel's Valar, 400 staff

Mentor

E-commerce, raised $100M USD, $70M revenue

No startup experience required.

You'll learn step by step how to build an 8 figure business from zero. We'll guide you on finding co-founders, ideation, product, sales, marketing + more.







You can participate in the program whilst studying or working.

Startups are not as risky as you think.

Everyone we know who's worked 10 years on startups is making USD 500,000+ in profit. Startups fail because people quit.


It takes 10 years to be a doctor, 10 years to be a lawyer, 10+ years to get good at anything. It's the same with being a founder, but your upside is uncapped.

The most actionable startup curriculum ever

100+ resources compiled into a 12 month program.

We've spent the last 15 years studying 1,000+ startup resources, battle testing what works on own business, and compiling the best of the best.

Other startup courses will tell you what to do on a high level. Athena.vc shows you exactly how to do it step by step.

View the curriculum

How To Start A Startup

Rob's startup course: screen shares, step by step tactics, real meeting recordings and case studies with 1 million+ views

Group coaching sessions

Weekly Ask Me Anything sessions.

Here participants share business challenges and our mentors will help brain-storm solutions.

Free to join, we prioritise questions from Athena founders.

Join AMA Session

A community for the very best founders

Focus group

6 founders 1 hr meeting/ week. Share learnings and discuss challenges. You can meet in person or online. This is the core of Athena Founders. The discussion structure is based on YPO forum which is attended by 30% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

Online community

Founders share weekly updates on: goals, learnings, activities, challenges on Discord. Provide feedback and hold each other accountable.

Mentorship sessions

Group coaching with successful founders who have built $1million+ businesses. We’ll also teach founders how to find their own industry relevant mentors using LinkedIn.

No startup experience required.

You'll learn step by step how to build an 8 figure business from zero. We'll guide you on finding co-founders, ideation, product, sales, marketing + more.






You can participate in the program whilst studying or working.

Startups are not as risky as you think.

Everyone we know who's worked 10 years on startups is making USD 500,000 USD in profit.

Startups fail because people quit.
It takes 10 years to be a doctor, 10 years to be a lawyer, 10+ years to get good at anything. It's the same with being a founder, but your upside is uncapped.

The most actionable startup curriculum ever

100+ resources compiled into a 12 month program.


We've spent the last 15 years studying 1,000+ startup resources, battle testing what works on own business, and compiling the best of the best.


Other startup courses will tell you what to do on a high level. Athena.vc shows you exactly how to do it step by step.

View the curriculum

Mentors who've built multi-million dollar businesses

Host

Founder, CEO, ContactOut

$10M USD revenue, $5M profit bootstrapped.Leads a global team of 50 staff.

Limited Partner at hustlefund.vc, iterative.vc, and blackbird.vc.
Angel investor, 500 Startup Alum.
Rob’s startup course has 1M+ views on YouTube.

Mentor

Hmlet, a co-living company raised $40M USD from Sequoia

Mentor

Fintech, raised $80M USD from Peter Thiel's Valar, 400 staff

Mentor

E-commerce, raised $100M USD, $70M revenue

How To Start A Startup

Rob's startup course: screen shares, step by step tactics, real meeting recordings and case studies with 1 million+ views

Group coaching sessions

Weekly Ask Me Anything sessions.

Here participants share business challenges and our mentors will help brain-storm solutions.

Free to join, we prioritise questions from Athena founders.

Join AMA Session

A community for the very best founders

Focus group

6 founders meet for 1 hr/week to share learnings and discuss challenges, either in person or online. This is the core of Athena Founders. The discussion structure is based on YPO forum a learning group attended by 30% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

Online community

Founders will share weekly updates on: goals, learnings, activities, challenges, and provide feedback and hold each other accountable.

Mentorship sessions

Meet with successful founders who have built $1million+ businesses. We’ll invite speakers and we’ll teach each founder group how to find their own industry relevant speakers via Linkedin outreach.

Mentors who've built multi-million dollar businesses

Host

Founder, CEO, ContactOut

$10M USD revenue, $5M profit bootstrapped.
Leads a global team of 50 staff.

Limited Partner at hustlefund.vc, iterative.vc, and blackbird.vc.
Angel investor, 500 Startup Alum.
Rob’s startup course has 1M+ views on YouTube.

Mentor

Hmlet, a co-living company raised $40M USD from Sequoia

Mentor

Fintech, raised $80M USD from Peter Thiel's Valar, 400 staff

Mentor

E-commerce, raised $100M USD, $70M revenue

No startup experience required.

You'll learn step by step how to build an 8 figure business from zero. We'll guide you on finding co-founders, ideation, product, sales, marketing + more.






You can participate in the program whilst studying or working.

Startups are not as risky as you think.

Everyone we know who's worked 10 years on startups is making USD 500,000 USD in profit.

Startups fail because people quit.
It takes 10 years to be a doctor, 10 years to be a lawyer, 10+ years to get good at anything. It's the same with being a founder, but your upside is uncapped.

The most actionable startup curriculum ever

100+ resources compiled into a 12 month program.


We've spent the last 15 years studying 1,000+ startup resources, battle testing what works on own business, and compiling the best of the best.


Other startup courses will tell you what to do on a high level. Athena.vc shows you exactly how to do it step by step.

View the curriculum

How To Start A Startup

Rob's startup course: screen shares, step by step tactics, real meeting recordings and case studies with 1 million+ views

Group coaching sessions

Weekly Ask Me Anything sessions.

Here participants share business challenges and our mentors will help brain-storm solutions.

Free to join, we prioritise questions from Athena founders.

Join AMA Session

A community for the very best founders

Focus group

6 founders meet for 1 hr/week to share learnings and discuss challenges, either in person or online. This is the core of Athena Founders. The discussion structure is based on YPO forum a learning group attended by 30% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

Online community

Founders will share weekly updates on: goals, learnings, activities, challenges, and provide feedback and hold each other accountable.

Mentorship sessions

Meet with successful founders who have built $1million+ businesses. We’ll invite speakers and we’ll teach each founder group how to find their own industry relevant speakers via Linkedin outreach.

Self directed learning

Athena is focused on peer to peer learning and self directed learning. You’ll get out what you put in.

Nobody is going to “teach” you entrepreneurship, because by definition entrepreneurs define new paths.

Starting a company is challenging. You have to make difficult decisions every day with imperfect information on problems you’ve likely never faced before.

In our experience, the best way to overcome the challenges is to surround yourself with founders doing the same thing. Learn from the wins and mistakes of others. Support each other and hold each other accountable.

Athena is

Strategies and tactics. Gain insights, ideas, and guidance from fellow founders.

Safe space. Judgment-free zone where you can share successes, failures, and challenges

Hitting goals and accountability

Making friends. Find your next cofounder. Create business relationships.

Raising money. Our community has raised over 40 million and are connected to major VC firms.

Self directed learning

Athena is focused on peer to peer learning and self directed learning. You’ll get out what you put in.

Nobody is going to “teach” you entrepreneurship, because by definition entrepreneurs define new paths.

Starting a company is challenging. You have to make difficult decisions every day with imperfect information on problems you’ve likely never faced before.

In our experience, the best way to overcome the challenges is to surround yourself with founders doing the same thing. Learn from the wins and mistakes of others. Support each other and hold each other accountable.

Self directed learning

Self directed learning

Athena is focused on peer to peer learning and self directed learning. You’ll get out what you put in.
Nobody is going to “teach” you entrepreneurship, because by definition entrepreneurs define new paths.

Athena is here is guide you on the journey with:

  • 12 months of curriculum covering the most actionable startup resources online.

  • A peer group and community to learn from and hold each other accountable.

Starting a company is challenging. You have to make difficult decisions every day with imperfect information on problems you’ve likely never faced before.

In our experience, the best way to overcome the challenges is to surround yourself with founders doing the same thing. Learn from the wins and mistakes of others. Support each other and hold each other accountable.

Athena is focused on peer to peer learning and self directed learning. You’ll get out what you put in.

Nobody is going to “teach” you entrepreneurship, because by definition entrepreneurs define new paths.

Starting a company is challenging. You have to make difficult decisions every day with imperfect information on problems you’ve likely never faced before.

In our experience, the best way to overcome the challenges is to surround yourself with founders doing the same thing. Learn from the wins and mistakes of others. Support each other and hold each other accountable.

Athena is

Strategies and tactics. Gain insights, ideas, and guidance from fellow founders.

Safe space. Judgment-free zone where you can share successes, failures, and challenges

Hitting goals and accountability

Making friends. Find your next cofounder. Create business relationships.

Raising money. Our community has raised over 40 million and are connected to major VC firms.

Athena is

Strategies and tactics. Gain insights, ideas, and guidance from fellow founders.

Safe space. Judgment-free zone where you can share successes, failures, and challenges

Hitting goals and accountability.

Making friends. Find your next cofounder. Create business relationships.

Raising money. Our community has raised over 40 million and are connected to major VC firms.

What we’re looking for:

Coding ability

You can code or you are technical in another field like engineering, biotech or hardware. You're a maker. You build stuff.

Fast learner

You've gone through at least 10+ books and courses last year. You're a self directed learner and independent thinker.

Determination

You commit 20 hours a week to working on a startup. You don't give up. You will succeed or die trying. 10 years to be a doctor, 10 years to be a lawyer, same with being a founder.

Program structure

Program structure

Athena Founders
  • Free to join, no equity requirement

  • 1 hour / week group coaching

  • 1 hour / week founders focus group

  • Post weekly updates on goals, learnings, progress, challenges

Cash prizes for achieving goals:

  • $100 USD for studying 10 competitors

  • $100 for talking to 10 users writing up learning

  • $100 for talking to 5 ex-founders / industry experts

  • $100 for building in public and posting weekly updates


Once you've achieved the above goals you'll be eligible for:

Athena Residency
  • We'll match your salary for 6 months so you can work full time on your startup, you keep 90%+ equity.

  • Suitable for founders with 2-6 years work experience earning $10,000 - $40,000 USD salary

    • We're currently focused on developing countries
    • We'll be opening a program for higher income countries later in the year.
  • $10,000 - $20,000 USD funding for 5% - 10% equity on a post money SAFE

  • Distributed in 3 equal tranches over 6 months

    • Tranche 1: on acceptance

    • Tranche 2: study 50 similar companies, weekly updates, talk to 25 experts, and 50 users.

    • Tranche 3: study 100 companies, weekly updates, talk to 50 experts, and 100 users.

    • Tranches are based on putting in the work and 100% within the founders control.

    • Founders may opt out of receiving tranches if they don't need it.

  • Worst case you'll learn something and go back to your job with no loss in income, best case you'll be running a successful company.

  • You do not need a cofounder, or a business idea, or any startup experience. Just need to learn fast and work hard.

Appendix

Athena's mission

Fund 1 million founders in developing countries

  • Create a university for entrepreneurship

  • Start Silicon Valley ecosystems all over the world

  • Accelerate science, technology, human progress

  • Create trillions in wealth

Elitist capital

Accelerators like YC have rejected 400,000+ founders, whilst funding less than 1%. Venture capital firms fund even less. 3-4 deals per year. That's 0.25% out of the millions of founder they reject. Even early stage investors like Antler look for 10 years works experience, deep industry expertise and 50% of participants have founded a company before. Antler has 1% acceptance rate, 0.1% funding rate.

First believers

Athena will fund you when no other investor will. We'll write your first check. We'll fund: inexperienced founders, solo founders, young founders, weird founders - we like weird founders. Our acceptance rate is 20%, 20x higher than mainstream venture capital firms. But it's 100% up to you, complete all your goals, put in the work, we will fund you. We believe anyone can achieve anything they set their mind to. Fancy university degrees, senior job titles doesn't count for crap. If you work hard, learn fast and build stuff, you're in. You can learn everything else.

Valuation

Because we invest at the earliest stages, our valuation is also the lowest. $10,000 - $20,000 USD for 5% - 10%. YC's valuation is 20x higher. So if you can get into YC or raise angel funding you should do that. But if you can't then joining Athena Residency will likely 10x your chances.

YC vs Athena

If YC was Harvard. Athena would be community college. Did you know that Steve Jobs (Apple) attended De Anza community college, George Lucas (Star Wars) attended Modesto community College and Einstein went to Federal Polytechnic School? Harvard admits 1,800 students per year. Community college admits 4 million.

Athena's mentors are just as accomplished or more accomplished than YC mentors. Many YC founders have said Athena's curriculum is more actionable than YC's but you can be the judge of that.

Rob's first check

When I took my first investment it was 10k USD for 7.5%. It was a terrible valuation. I returned more than 20x the money in dividends alone. But was I a university drop out with no experience and no idea what I was doing? Yes. Was I venture fundable? No.

If I didn't get that angel check I may never have gone full time as a founder. I would of wasted another 3-5 years of my life in a job I hated. Is that worth 7.5%? Yes

90%+ equity vs 0% equity

So that's what we're offering we'll match your salary for 6 month and you keep 90%+ equity. That's definitely better than your current job where you're getting near 0% equity. Worst case you'll fail, learn something and go back with no loss in income, best case you'll be running a successful company.

Returns

The median return for a venture capital in South East Asia  0.4x in last 10 years, that's a -60% loss, compared to NASDAQ which grew 400%. If we want to raise billions of dollars in order to fund 1 million founders, we'd need to make returns to convince investors to deploy money. Investing at lower valuations allows us to take more 1000x risk and fund 1000x more founders, whilst being able to attract investors with a reasonable rate of return. Athena is a benefit corporation, profits will be reinvested back into funding more founders.

Small is better

The most impactful technologies are built by individuals and small groups. JavaScript was designed by 1 person as a summer project. Google was written by 2 people. Steve Wozniak single handedly built the Apple II including all the hardware and software. Microsoft's first BASIC was written by just Bill Gates and Paul Allen. There at 4 core researchers at OpenAI. All you need is enough money to pay for the founders living expenses to work full time. You don't need much money. You need hustle and determination. More money, more people will only slow you down. Hire once you get product market fit not before.

An alternative to university

Steve Wozniak (Apple) didn't learn anything about computers at university, he taught himself in high school by reading textbook and chip manuals and designing computers on paper. Einstein discovered the theory of relatively whilst working as a desk clerk and reading physics papers in his spare time. Elon Musk taught himself how to build SpaceX and Tesla.

Paul Graham (YC) describes school as Prison: a place to memorize meaningless facts so adults can get on with their day. Where all the work is pointless, and achieving results doesn't matter, so everything devolves into a popularity contest.

How to change the world

You have the entire trove of human knowledge in a device in your pocket.
WTF are you waiting for?

  • Pick an industry. What are you passionate about? Whats are the biggest problems in your life? What are the most important problems and technologies in the world?

    • Sam Altman's list: AI, Biotechnology, Energy, Government, Education, Income inequity.

    • Watch 100 pitches to see what latest technologies VC firms are investing in: YC, 500, Techstars

  • Study 100 companies in a high impact industry on YC and Crunchbase

  • Read 100 journal articles on Google Scholar, nature.com unlock with Sci Hub

  • Talk to 100 mentors, ex-founders, industry experts, talk to 100+ users

  • Become an expert and come up with a product that is 10x better than what's already out there.

That's how Elon Musk, and Sam Altman did it. There's no course at university for how to build SpaceX, Tesla or OpenAI.

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