About txo

When we speak with founders building around a cultural insight, they often complain about how sparse the ecosystem is to support them, with spotty access to capital and mentorship, a lack of systematic training, and a much less developed set of company building blocks.

Our goal with the TxO Initiative is to help emerging cultural geniuses by providing them access to a new system of funding, training, and ongoing mentorship that will help these entrepreneurs build durable, successful companies.

Mentor and Advisor Network

Explore our growing community of renowned mentors, advisers, and partners who generously lend their expertise and services to TxO founders.

Become a Mentor

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Corporate Partners

TxO partners work with TxO founders to customize services and support for their individual startup needs: from reaching customers in new or novel ways to launching a new distribution channel.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • How do I apply for the program?

    We are always looking to connect with talented founders and review applications on a rolling basis. If you want to apply, please submit your application here.

  • What is the selection criteria?

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

    TxO University is a hybrid program and founders are not required to move to the Bay Area to receive funding or access the network. Note that we are only working with US-based founders at this time.

  • How many programs do you run per year?

    We currently run two cohorts per year, in the Spring and Fall.

  • How is TxO affiliated with a16z?

    TxO is a standalone, separate fund from existing a16z funds. a16z provides resources to support TxO at its own expense and is responsible for the management and operational costs of 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. 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 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.

    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. Contributors to the fund will not receive any return of capital or appreciation on the fund’s investments.

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

    The TxO Fund’s standard investment terms provide that in exchange for $175,000, an entrepreneur agrees to give Tides Foundation (as sponsor of the TxO Fund) a SAFE note that converts into a 7 percent 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.

  • 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.

  • Who makes investment recommendations to the Tides Foundation?

    The a16z team sources and admits companies to the TxO University program. Companies accepted into TxO University are referred to Tides, which reviews each recommendation to determine whether to make an investment from the TxO Fund.

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

    TxO is continually building and maintaining 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 [email protected].

  • How do you work with corporate partners or other external organizations?

    We engage with a variety of partners to support TxO founders, such as:

    • Corporate partners who can offer products or services or bespoke experiences to support TxO founders’ business models (e.g. financial planning, accounting, legal, marketing)
    • Early stage investors, accelerators, and incubators to identify potential TxO founders
    • Fortune 500 companies to identify mentors and GTM opportunities for TxO founders

    If you’re interested in partnering with TxO, please email us at [email protected].

  • How do I donate to the TxO Fund?

    We gratefully accept donations to the TxO Fund at Tides.org


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The Talent x Opportunity initiative identifies and supports entrepreneurs who have the talent, drive, and ideas to build great businesses, but lack the network and resources to do so.


Find your x Factor

We are always looking for talented founders to join TxO

Apply Now
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