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Introducing the Redwood Startup Fund

7 Apr 2022 - Bay Area, CA

Today I’m pleased to announce the Redwood Startup Fund: a $1M fund that will invest $25k–$50k in startups that use RedwoodJS as a primary component in their stack.

I have several goals in mind with this fund:

  1. Help more startups explore more territory, more quickly. This is our mission at RedwoodJS. Until now we’ve provided software, documentation, community, connections, advice, and support, but we’ve had to stop short of providing money. Now, for the most promising people and ideas, we can go all the way.
  2. Increase the diversity of founders in the Redwood community. Over the last six months, Redwood-based startups have raised more than $19M, but the demographics of those founders skew heavily white and male. I’d like to create more opportunities for Black devs, women devs, and other minoritized devs within our broader community to travel down the startup path.
  3. Encourage climate-focused software. Climate change is the existential crisis of our time. We need more ideas and progress in every sector, including software-based approaches to preventing emissions and sequestering carbon.

The fund will be part of my angel investing practice at Preston-Werner Ventures, where I’ve made early investments in companies like Stripe, Netlify, Snyk, Prisma, Supabase, PlanetScale, Gitpod, Railway, Snaplet, StackBlitz, FaunaDB, GraphCDN, Retool, and many other dev tools. I also invest heavily in climate technology companies like Beta (electric airplanes), Mote Hydrogen (green hydrogen & permanent carbon sequestration), and Prometheus Fuels (air to carbon-neutral fuel). Though this is a limited set of sectors, the Redwood Startup Fund is intended to invest broadly across industries and I will be engaging others in helping me evaluate potential startups.

I anticipate deploying the fund’s capital over the next 12 months. This will mean a fairly rapid pace of investment (2–4 investments per month) and I’m hoping that some of these checks will go to individuals that would otherwise not have any means to even try their hand at doing a startup. If I am first money in, even before incorporation, I am totally fine with that, and hope to help folks reach the stage where they can raise a pre-seed. Is there such a thing as pre-pre-seed? Maybe we can call it the “existential round”.

I don’t have all the mechanics figured out yet; how to take applications, or what terms on an existential round might be (though, as an entrepreneur myself, I intend them to founder friendly), but hope to finalize that within a month. If you’re interested in knowing more, sign up for the Redwood Startup Fund mailing list.

For now, dream big and try out the RedwoodJS Tutorial. I hope to talk with you about your Redwood-based startup soon!

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