Talent x Opportunity Initiative

Overview

Meet Our Founders

TxO Cohort Alpha

Coco and Breezy
Oui the People
Pamper Nail Gallery
Autumn Adeigbo
Breakr
Elite Sweets
FutureStream

Community

Advisory Committee

The TxO Advisory Committee is comprised of renowned industry and cultural leaders who have generously offered their time to advise the a16z TxO team on overall program strategy.

Premier Donors

Much gratitude to our Premier Donors, who joined well over a hundred other contributors in supporting TxO with a financial gift.

  • Stewart Butterfield
  • Avichal Garg
  • Bob Ghoorah
  • ZTEOG Foundation (Jim Goetz)
  • Thomas Laffont
  • Aaron Levie
  • Jen Rubio
  • Curtis Spencer
  • Kenny Stone

Premier Partners

Resource Partners

FAQ

  • How do I apply to TxO?

    We are no longer accepting applications for the first cohort, but stay tuned for more information on future cohorts.

  • How many companies will be accepted to the accelerator program (TxO University)?

    Our initial cohort is seven companies. We will expand over time, with a goal of running two cohorts a year. 

  • How many companies applied for the first cohort? What was the acceptance rate?

    We received over 1,200 applications and selected seven companies for the first cohort, an acceptance rate of less than 0.58%. For comparison, Stanford admitted just under 5.2% of applicants to the class of 2024.

  • How long does the TxO University program run for each cohort?

    The program will be 10 months long, hosted online.

  • Are accepted applicants required to move to the Bay Area to receive funding or access the network?

    The first cohort will be online and will not be required to move to the Bay Area to receive funding or access the network. Note that we are only working with U.S.-based founders at this time. 

  • What is the selection criteria for TxO University?

    We will select founders based on:

    • Attractiveness of the product & market
      • Size of the addressable market (could this be a global phenomenon?)
      • Defensible business with compelling unit economics
      • Cultural moat (the business reimagines its category) 
    • Demonstrated progress
      • Having an existing U.S.-based corporation that is already up and running 
      • Team (on board or in pipeline to hire)
      • Customers, revenue, and other financial metrics
      • Proven engagement: social media followers, etc.
    • Founding team
      • Ambition
      • Ability to execute
      • Ability to improve
      • Cultural authenticity (founding team has cultural secrets that incumbents do not)
      • TxO’s ability to help
      • Product/founder fit
      • We seek founders without the traditional background (for example, technical degree from a top global university or years of experience working in major corporations or the tech ecosystem) and resources (for example, a rich and deep professional network, ready access to funding) to build great companies
  • Will TxO only be accepting technology companies?

    We expect most of our investments to fall outside of the realm of traditional technology companies, instead creating or tapping into emerging cultural trends.

  • What is the mentorship program and how can I get involved?

    TxO will build and maintain a network of mentors, matching them with TxO founders at critical inflection points in the company’s growth. Mentors are seasoned entrepreneurs, operators, and investors with relevant experience building successful businesses and organizations. For each set of TxO founders, we will determine how we can be most helpful in growing their businesses and match them with mentors based on need and availability.

     

    As a mentor, you have the opportunity to “pay it forward” by sharing your time, expertise, and perspective with the next generation of talented entrepreneurs. If you would like to volunteer to be a mentor and help TxO founders grow their companies, please email us at txo@txo.fund.

  • Are you partnering with external organizations?

    Yes. We are engaging with:

    • Early stage investors, accelerators, and incubators to identify potential TxO founders
    • Product/service companies who can offer free or discounted software or services (e.g. financial planning, accounting, legal, marketing, etc.) to TxO founders
    • Fortune 500 companies to identify mentors and marketing/sales/partnership opportunities for TxO founders
    • Tides Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that sponsors the TxO Fund (see more below)  

    If you’re interested in partnering with TxO, please email us at txo@txo.fund.

  • What is the TxO Fund and how is it different from a traditional venture capital fund?

    The TxO Fund is a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) at Tides Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to advancing shared prosperity and social justice, including through investments, programs and grant making that advance equity and economic empowerment. As the donor advisor to the TxO Fund, a16z makes recommendations regarding investments and disbursements from the TxO Fund. Tides Foundation exercises discretion and control with respect to all amounts in the TxO Fund, and uses its independent judgment to determine whether a proposed investment or distribution is aligned with Tides’ mission, the purpose of the Fund, and otherwise complies with applicable law.  

     

    This structure allows anyone (including non-accredited investors) to donate and join us in our mission, decentralizing who can and cannot participate in TxO. Contributions to the Fund will be treated as charitable contributions for tax purposes. In addition, all returns generated from the Fund will go back to the Fund and be used to support future generations of founders – whether through continued investments or to create pathways for those who otherwise face material barriers to accessing capital through charitable contributions. Consistent with the charitable nature of contributions to the Fund, contributors will not receive any return of capital or appreciation on the Fund’s investments.

  • How do I donate to the TxO Fund?

    We gratefully accept donations to the TxO Fund here.

  • How is TxO affiliated with a16z?

    TxO is separate from existing a16z funds. a16z will provide resources to support TxO activities at its own expense and is responsible for the management and operational costs of the TxO University. Otherwise, TxO has no relationship to other a16z funds or operations. All access to the firm’s expertise is on a voluntary basis only and not programmatic. In the future, it’s possible that TxO graduates may receive follow-on investments from a16z’s venture fund, but this is not guaranteed and is not an active goal of the Initiative. 

  • What are the standard terms of a TxO Fund investment?

    The TxO Fund’s standard investment terms provide that in exchange for $100,000, an entrepreneur agrees to give Tides Foundation (as sponsor of the TxO Fund) a SAFE note that converts into a 7% percentage ownership stake in the company. a16z does not profit from any of the returns: All returns generated by these holdings go directly back into the Fund, with the hope that we can continue to support many future generations of founders.

  • How is TxO different from the a16z Cultural Leadership Fund?

    The a16z Cultural Leadership Fund is a traditional venture capital fund, which co-invests alongside other a16z investments. The fund’s limited partners include influencers from the worlds of corporate, entertainment, and professional sports. As with a typical venture capital fund, the limited partners are entitled to receive a return on their investment and share in the profits generated by the fund. Uniquely though, the general partner of the Cultural Leadership Fund—namely, Andreessen Horowitz—has agreed to donate all management fees and its share of the profits to a set of carefully selected nonprofits creating pathways for African Americans to find jobs in the technology ecosystem. 

     

    TxO is different in many respects:

    • TxO acts more like an accelerator for uniquely talented entrepreneurs who have been excluded from the traditional pathways to venture capital by providing an “on ramp” in the form of mentorship, advice, and network access that can dramatically improve the trajectory of a business.
    • Contributors to the TxO Fund are not entitled to any return of capital or profits generated by the Fund’s investments. Contributions are made to a donor advised fund and are tax-deductible.
    • The Fund will not invest in deals a16z has already invested in. Rather, the Fund seeks to invest in entrepreneurs who are building companies around cultural breakthroughs who generally lack access to traditional venture capital investment. 
  • What is Tides?

    Tides Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to advancing shared prosperity and social justice, including through investments, programs and grantmaking that advance equity, and is the charitable organization sponsoring the TxO Fund. Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is responsible for the management and operational costs of the accompanying TxO accelerator training program. a16z also screens grantees and makes grant recommendations to Tides for funds to be released to participants in that program. Tides Foundation exercises discretion and control with respect to all amounts in the TxO Fund and uses its independent judgment to determine whether a proposed investment or distribution is aligned with Tides’ mission, the purpose of the Fund, and otherwise complies with applicable law.

  • Who makes investment recommendations to Tides?

    Scott Kupor, Nait Jones, and Frank Chen source and admit companies to the TxO University. Companies accepted into TxO University are referred to Tides, which reviews each recommendation to determine whether to make an investment from the TxO Fund.

  • What happens with Fund returns?

    Neither a16z nor TxO Fund donors will receive any Fund returns: All returns generated by the TxO Fund will go directly back into the Fund to support future generations of founders. 

  • How will TxO measure the success of the overall initiative?

    Our goal is to create an alternative funding path and mentoring network for cultural geniuses building companies from outside of the mainstream networks that feed Silicon Valley. We will measure success in terms of:

    • Returns generated by the Fund (to measure how large and successful the businesses grow)
    • Impact on culture and on the categories being addressed
    • The quality of the training programs that help the entrepreneurs achieve success
    • The size and quality of the mentor network (including TxO alumni)
    • The size and quality of the partner ecosystem

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