Our first Replit Ventures was a tremendous success.
Some of our teams were accepted into the best startup accelerators in the world while others had $1mm+ funding offers from top VCs.
Before The Program
Before joining Replit, I was working on my fintech startup, Blubbr. After a few small successes, Amjad reached out and asked me to write a guest blogpost (our product was built on Replit).
We then started brainstorming ideas about how we can help other startups on Replit. After I told him I wanted to take a gap quarter (I hated online school), he asked me if I wanted to join the team and help other startups go to market. This is how Replit Ventures was born.
My first day at Replit was April 5, 2021. We launched Replit Ventures on April 13th. I wrote a blogpost detailing the program and our launch Tweet went viral (Thanks Jack Dorsey for the RT).
People were applying within minutes of the launch. Our application deadline was set for April 23rd. In only 10 days, over 400 teams had applied to the program.
Application Pool Diversity
We opened our application up globally. There were no limits on age, location, or timezone. (Bitcoin enables borderless and frictionless payments). Because of this, I think it's safe to say that we had one of the most diverse application pools ever seen in an incubator. Our applicants included both teenage hackers in India and Senior SWE's at FANG companies. (The younger entrepreneurs were always more innovative btw)
We spent a lot of time picking the teams. This is one of those things that's "more of an art than a science". HUGE shoutout to YK for helping me go through all of the applications - this took a really long time. We selected 6 teams to join us: 5 startups and 1 nonprofit.
- Slip - Platform for building and selling programming courses
- Kobra - Visual programming language for machine learning
- PetCode - Smart pet tag for smarter pet care
- Nisawa - Fast and reliable delivery service platform based in Rwanda, Africa
- Execute Big - Computer science education non-profit that makes learning fun
- DogeMail - Innovative email client that uses Replit authentication (still building)
The Program Starts
After our kick-off call, the teams got to work right away. We paired each team with 1-2 mentors and hosted weekly meetings with some incredibly inspiring people:
- Tabish Gilani: Ex-Growth @ Google, Growth PM @ Replit
- Sergei Chestakov: Ex-SWE @ Google, SWE @ Replit
- Haya Odeh: Co-founder @ Replit
- Austen Allred: Founder @ LambdaSchool
- Roy Bahat: Head of BloomBerg Beta
Teams usually met with their mentors once a week to discuss progress and go over any goals that they had.
After only a month of hard work, some of the teams decided to launch their products to the world. Here are links to some of the launches:
We can't share all of the highlights just yet. There are a few VC deals still being worked out. ;)
I tweeted about Kobra on May 11th. The tweet performed well and the ML community got pretty excited. On the 13th, someone posted about Kobra on Hacker News and it was at the top all day.
During our program, PetCode was featured on Forbes.
Nisawa Blogpost: "Our set goal coming into Replit Ventures was to grow our weekly deliveries at 15% week over week i.e. from 96 to 167 weekly deliveries after four weeks. In the end, we grew our weekly deliveries to 251 with an average weekly growth rate of 27.2% entirely through word of mouth."
PetCode launched a brand new premium plan. 50% of their customers converted to paid subscription increasing lifetime customer value as well as average order value.
More than 800 participants signed up for Execute Big's Tech Roulette (and rolling!), and among them 450+ are under 21. They come from 60+ countries around the world and covered 35+ states in the U.S.
Because of the program's success, VC firms have reached out wanting to invest in the ventures program alone. It is possible that the next iteration of Replit Ventures is very different. (more $ involved)
We're taking a short break to make the program better and work on other partnerships. Stay tuned for more details soon.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about how you can make your application as strong as possible for the next cohort, reach out to Søren on Twitter or email [email protected]. I'm always happy to chat and answer questions.